YORK City are facing up to the prospect of losing prize asset Martyn Woolford on the eve of the new Blue Square Premier season.

League One outfit Cheltenham Town are believed to be one of two clubs close to tabling a bid for the 22-year-old winger.

City managing director Jason McGill has confirmed Woolford turned down the offer for an improved contract with the Minstermen over the summer, meaning the club could run the risk of losing him for a tribunal-set fee when his current deal expires in June.

The KitKat Crescent club would also be entitled to nothing in nine months’ time if he decided to further his career in Scotland like former City team-mate Clayton Donaldson.

Former Frickley Athletic winger Woolford was still expected to travel with City for tomorrow’s first fixture of the new season at Crawley Town, but The Press understands a move could be finalised before the transfer window closes at the end of this month or even as early as next week.

But Crewe Alexandra – one of Woolford’s previous suitors – are not believed to be interested in his services.

The Railwaymen have, though, had a six-figure bid for Donaldson accepted by Hibernian, although the 24-year-old striker has yet to agree personal terms.

McGill, meanwhile, stressed talk of Woolford moving on was just “speculation” at the moment, but added: “We offered Martyn an enhanced contract over the summer and he didn’t sign it.

“He made it clear he’s ambitious and stated that he wants to play at a higher level and keep his options open.

“No concrete bids have been made as yet, but somebody like him will always cause speculation because he’s a good player and we have to keep our options open as well.

“If somebody expresses an interest, we have to look at what happened with Clayton Donaldson and we must avoid history repeating itself.

“We don’t want to lose him and I’d like him to sign a contract and remain a York City player, but you can’t force him to put pen to paper.

“The contract we offered him was a vastly improved one and the best the club could offer.”

McGill refused to put a price on the head of Woolford, who scored 17 goals last season and scooped The Press Player of the Year award.

But he added: “It would be difficult to find somebody of Martyn’s quality if we let him go, so any transfer would need to be in the best interests of the football club and not to its detriment. We would need to be talking about a significant amount.”

With or without Woolford, McGill is hoping for an improved campaign under Colin Walker, saying: “We’re looking for a successful season on and off the pitch and to put all our problems behind us.

“We’re hoping to create a successful future for the club and that means promotion to the Football League and realising our new stadium aspirations.”

Walker preferred not to comment on Woolford’s future, but added: “Martyn is a valuable member of our football club and, because of how we have done in pre-season, there are clubs interested in one or two of our players.”