AS Dave Penney continues to prove his managerial credentials at Darlington, chairman George Houghton is hoping the two-year contract extension signed earlier this week will fend off interest from potential suitors.

Having guided Doncaster Rovers to successive promotions from the Conference to League One, Penney's CV has been made all the more impressive by the impact he has made in just 15 months at the Balfour Webnet Darlington Arena.

Houghton's decision to part company with David Hodgson left many supporters reeling, but his decision to appoint Penney proved a masterstroke and Quakers now stand their best chance of promotion since Brian Little guided the club to the old Division Four title in 1991.

Penney's progress has not gone unnoticed and a number of clubs have made their interest known in recent months.

However, the former Oxford United midfielder remains committed to the cause, as demonstrated when he penned a deal which will keep him at the club until 2011.

Quakers fans will certainly hope that Penney sees out that agreement and beyond, given his success so far.

But few will be disappointed if the 43-year-old continues impress, so long as it is with Darlington.

"I've been here 15 months and obviously the board are pleased with things," said Penney.

"The chairman and directors have said there's never been much stability here so when they asked me to sign a new contract before Christmas there were no gripes on my behalf.

"There were just one or two issues in the contract that they put in to make sure it was right and I was quite happy to sign a new contract."

Penney was quoted by Doncaster chairman John Ryan as saying he had taken Rovers "as far as he could" when he parted company with the club in August 2006.

His availability alerted a number of clubs, including Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United. Penney was also linked with the England Under-21s post, before taking over the Darlington reins in October 2006.

And the Quakers boss has done little to tarnish his reputation as one of the most promising managers in the Football League with what he has achieved so far in the North-East.

"It is possible that the board were aware of interest from other clubs," said Penney. "I don't know if anyone had made an approach regarding that.

"I'm quite happy here at the moment and hopefully things will be even better with a new training ground.

"There hasn't been much stability on the pitch because we've had a high turnover of players, but it just shows that we're heading in the right direction."

After back-to-back defeats against MK Dons and Rochdale, Darlington's promotion bid is now back on track after three straight wins.

Quakers host Macclesfield this afternoon and Penney has warned that Ian Brightwell's side won't be an easy touch, despite their lowly position.

"Macclesfield need the points just as Mansfield did last week,"

said Penney. "They won 1-0 with ten men at Peterborough last week and that's not an easy place to go.

"Everybody says they're down there and their record's poor but they were good enough to beat Peterborough in their last game. We have to approach it right otherwise we'll get done."

Quakers will be without influential skipper Steve Foster as he serves a one-match ban after his fifth booking of the season at Field Mill, but Alan White is available after a three-match ban and will partner Ian Miller at the heart of the Quakers defence as Penney's men look to secure their fourth straight clean sheet.

"We've had 17 clean sheets in 25 games, which is fantastic when you consider we've had a lot of changes in personnel", said Penney.

Following their win at Peterborough last weekend, Brightwell has warned Macclesfield will be out to cause another upset this afternoon.

He said: "Darlington are on a good run. They played really well at Mansfield last Saturday and kept another clean sheet so we know it is going to be tough.

"But games like this are what it is all about and in many ways it is similar to our last trip to Peterborough. We surprised a few people that day and that very much has to be our intention again."

* A minute's silence will be observed today in memory of former Quakers boss Billy Elliott, who died earlier this week.