Farewell and thanks for the memories, Chris - Fleetwood insist on recalling Conn-Clarke

Report by John Edwards
Picture by Ben Roberts
Video by Mark Bennett
Altrincham bade a reluctant farewell to Chris Conn-Clarke last night after his spectacularly-successful loan spell came to an end and he returned to his parent club Fleetwood.
Alty are always sorry to lose the services of a gifted player, but there was even greater regret about Chris' departure after the lengths the club went to in an attempt to keep him at The J.Davidson Stadium.
Such has been his impact since arriving on loan last July that all avenues were explored in the hope of finding some common ground that might lead to the Northern Ireland under-21 midfielder remaining an Alty player beyond this month.
The more Chris thrived in Alty colours and made it clear he was enjoying his football under Phil Parkinson and Neil Sorvel, the more Robins bosses pushed for an agreement with their Fleetwood counterparts to keep him at the club one way or another.
They stressed that they were willing to spend big to make the move permanent and were equally keen to extend the loan until the end of the season, should Fleetwood be reluctant to sell at this time.
But they were rebuffed at every turn, as Fleetwood made it clear they had their own plans for the 21-year old and he had to return to them after Saturday's Vanarama National League game against Boreham Wood.
Sadly, then, yesterday's 2-0 home defeat proved to be a farewell appearance for Chris, but he leaves behind a treasure trove of memories after providing some magical moments in his six months with the Robins.
In all, he made 31 league and cup starts, plus one appearance as substitute, and scored 10 goals, some of them showcasing his individual brilliance and establishing him as a firm favourite with Alty fans.
Who could forget the mesmerising run and finish that sealed an Alty victory over FC Halifax Town on Boxing Day or the unstoppable free-kick that flew into the top corner of the Maidenhead United net a couple of weeks ago? Just in case those special moments have slipped anyone's mind, you can relive them by clicking on the link below and savouring our catalogue of Chris crackers.
While everyone at Alty is sad to see Chris go, the club are actively pursuing other transfer targets to strengthen the team for the remainder of the season, and we will bring you news of any deals as soon as they are completed.
Thanks for the memories, Chris, and all the very best, wherever your career takes you in the future.
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