Altrincham starlet Chris Conn-Clarke revealed he is keeping his feet on the ground despite a stellar season that saw him named Sportsbeat Young Player of the Season at the Non-League Paper’s National Game Awards in association with Isuzu.

Conn-Clarke shone for the Robins across the 2023/24 season, scoring 22 league goals as Alty narrowly missed out on promotion via the play-offs.

The Northern Irishman, pictured, was a key part of Phil Parkinson’s side’s success and has subsequently attracted plenty of interest from the Football League, but the 22-year-old insisted he is not getting carried away and is simply concentrating on getting in peak condition for next season after picking up the individual award.

“It’s a great achievement,” he said. “I feel like I’ve had a good season and it’s always good to win an award at the end of the season to reflect on how good it has been.

“When you have good numbers you are always going to get interest but it’s just rumours. I am just focusing on getting back into shape for the new season.

“I didn’t expect to get the numbers I have but I knew I would do well. I had been on loan at Altrincham before under the gaffer and he gets the best out of me, so it was a no-brainer going back and I am glad I did.

“I will always be the same, try to impact games and express myself on the pitch. Nothing has changed, I have just been more deadly in front of goal this year and taken my chances when they’ve come.

“Playing every week, when you get the chances that I get every week it just becomes natural to put it in the goal.”

Conn-Clarke was one of the National League’s outstanding talents last terms, but it has not always been plain-sailing for the forward, who left his native Northern Ireland to join Burnley in 2018, aged just 17.

The 22-year-old then dropped into non-league after leaving Fleetwood Town last summer but was always confident he would prove his worth in an environment he knew would get the very best out of him.

“It’s everything about the club, from the top right down to the bottom,” he revealed. “It is run brilliantly, the gaffer and Sorvs [Neil Sorvel], they are good at man-management - they know when to put an arm around you and when to give you a kick up the backside. They just know how to get the best out of me.

“I wouldn’t say I’ve proved myself yet, I’ve had one good season. There’s plenty more work to happen. I’ve been here since I was 16 but I’m here to stay.

“It’s difficult moving away from your family but it’s what you’ve got to do, there are sacrifices you’ve got to make but I’m glad I’ve made them.

“I just take every season as it comes. I set myself a goal and an assist target and if I don’t hit it, I need to work harder in the off-season, but I’ve hit it this year so maybe I can chill out for a little bit.”

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