Phil Parkinson has further boosted his attacking options for next season after handing injury-hit former England under-19 striker Max Clayton the chance to relaunch his career with Altrincham.

The 26-year old looked destined for the top after starring in Crewe’s renowned academy and playing alongside the likes of Raheem Sterling, Eric Dier and Jordan Pickford at international level as a teenager.

Two serious hamstring injuries – one at Bolton, the other at Blackpool – curtailed his progress, but he’s ready to pick up the pieces again after working with a specialist fitness coach for the past 12 months and paying out of his own pocket to build up his strength and stamina.

"I had one eye on Alty in the play-offs," he said, after signing a short-term deal at The J.Davidson Stadium. "I was willing them over the line, because I’m only half an hour away in Nantwich and, in my head, I was thinking this could be just right for me. I just felt it would be the right fit.

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"As soon as they went up, with that win at Boston, I got hold of the manager and told him how keen I was to come here. I was the one who reached out, rather than the other way round, because I’m that desperate to be playing football again.

"It’s great to be here and to have sorted everything out so quickly, and I know I can prove myself here and make up for lost time.

"I came on the scene fast in my teens at Crewe and left a marker quite early on, but I’ve been out of football for the past year because of those two injuries, which both needed surgery.

"The good thing is, the second operation was a success and cleared everything up, and I’ve been paying for a physio out of my own pocket for the past year to build up my fitness. For me, it was a no-brainer to pay the money if it meant getting a chance like this.

"I’m not precious about playing at a certain level. I just want to be playing again, and from what I’ve seen of Altrincham, they will suit my style down to the ground."