MORECAMBE hope to fend off interest in top scorer Cole Stockton by giving him a new contract.

The former Tranmere striker has hit 23 league goals this season and has reportedly attracted interest from Championship Preston North End and newly promoted Rotherham United.

Wanderers have also been heavily linked with Stockton in the past, with Ian Evatt suggesting there could be interest in the summer window if circumstances were right.

Morecambe boss Derek Adams says his club are doing all they can to strengthen their position.

“We haven’t had any interest in Cole Stockton, we’ve had no dialogue with any club at this moment in time,” he said.

“We are in the process of making Cole the highest paid player at the club and we are in the process of offering him a new contract: an extended contract.

“We have set our stall out in terms of what we want to do. He has got another year to run on his contract and we would like to extend that.”

Stockton has scored 41 goals in 99 games since re-joining Morecambe two years ago and helping them into League One.

In March Evatt rated the 28-year-old as “one of the league’s best goal-scorers” and said the Shrimps had done well to keep hold of his services for so long.

Speculation about his future continues to circle and Adams reckons only a bid similar in size to the ones which took ex-Bolton defender Sam Lavelle to Charlton, or Carlos Mendes Gomes to Luton – i.e. around £500,000 – would tempt them into doing business.

“The owners have a value on the player, as they have on all the players at the club,” Adams told the Lancaster Guardian.

“If someone comes in and offers that money, then they want to be recompensed in the way that they were with Sam (Lavelle) and Carlos (Mendes Gomes) last year.

“They will, however, be looking for more money than they got for both of those players.”

Wanderers are thought to be in the market for another striker this summer, although it seems unlikely they would pay such a sizeable fee.

Speaking in November before the club’s drew 1-1 in a controversial and stormy game in League One, Evatt said of Stockton: “For now, he isn’t one we’re looking to do, and that’s the truth.

“He is doing very well for Morecambe and I think we should pay them the respect they are due but he’s definitely improving and that is very good for him.”