6:51pm Sunday 22nd December 2013
By Craig Stoddart
Stephen Thompson admits he would like to take the chance to turn professional if he is offered it - and joked he'd want team-mate David Dowson to come with him.
The Darlington forward's hat-trick in Saturday's 7-0 win at Burscough puts the 24-year-old on 16 goals in 26 appearances in all competitions this season, and manager Martin Gray admits his star man is being watched by clubs from a higher level.
Thompson, who had a brief spell with Port Vale after leaving Middlesbrough in 2008, says he is enjoying himself at Quakers so is in no rush to leave.
He said: "I'm happy here, but I'd be lying if I said I don't want to turn pro and I think anyone else at this level would say the same. I'm 25 next year so it feels a bit now or never. So if I did get a chance I'd have to take it.
"But at the minute I'm happy doing what I'm doing.
"There's been rumours flying about, but I've not heard anything officially and I'm sure if Martin did hear anything he would tell me."
Thompson's treble was his second for the club, and he was quick to pay tribute to Dowson, who teed up two of his goals.
"I've had two goals a few times this season so it's a relief to finally get the hat-trick," added Thompson. "The free-kick was decent, the second goal was decent and the third was down to Dows' hard work.
"I scored it from inside the box. It was a good break by Dows, he's relentless, he keeps going and going. He pulled the ball back and I got a decent contact on it.
"He creates ten or 15 goals a season because his work-rate is unbelievable. He keeps going and he must be a nightmare for defenders. He runs in behind and defenders never get a second's rest and that's how we got the third goal.
"Their lad had the ball, Dows put him under pressure and made him make a mistake. He kept on going, pulled it back and I scored. A lot of people don't do that, I don't, but that's what Dows is all about.
"If he wants to move with me he can!"
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