WITTON Albion face a fight with Marine for their talented midfielder Steve Connors.
The Crosby club have put in seven days notice of approach for Connors who is due to tell Witton of his decision tonight (Wednesday).
Albion, after so much turmoil in recent weeks, are desperate to keep arguably their prize asset.
Manager Jim Vince said: 'We are very hopeful he will stay.
'If players don't want to stay then we wish them luck and they leave.
'But we want Steve here and we like to think the better players want to stay. He's certainly enjoying his football here and we have a good relationship.
'Over the past three months we have seen him grow in maturity. I think he is the best midfield player in the league and he is still only 19. He was outstanding at Bradford.
'I don't see any reason why he shouldn't stay.'
Connors will be absent through suspension from Albion's next two games, both at home, against Radcliffe Borough on Saturday and Burscough the following week, returning for the Cheshire Senior Cup final against Stalybridge at Altrincham on Tuesday week.
Albion's win at Bradford revived their promotion prospects and
ended a dismal run of five consecutive defeats.
Vince said: 'I'd love to be in this position with a settled team, but we ain't settled yet, but our team spirit is back and we're playing well.'
The manager needs to quickly find an experienced goalkeeper, with Mark Westhead returning to Hyde after his loan spell and Andy Paxton, from Clitheroe, seen as cover.
Midfielder Mark Jones, stricken tendonitis as he was establishing himself in the first team, is back to fitness and played for Albion Reserves last night.
As did Middlewich-based Stuart Tulloch, Rossendale United's player of the year last season. Tulloch had
a brief spell as a teenager at Witton under John Davison.
'Maybe now is the time for him to take the step up,' said Vince, who has also signed experienced striker Ged Courtney from Prescot Cables to put pressure on the developing partnership of Mike Moseley and Dave Whittaker. nWITTON have hit upon a novel way of maximising income from their sportsman's dinner with world champion boxer Ricky Hatton at Winsford Civic Hall this month.
It is a sell-out event but Witton have put two top-table tickets, with a total face value of £80, up for auction of the ebay website. Bidding is already heading towards £300.