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MacDonald deal depends on departures

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 28, 2012

  • Burnley's Alex MacDonald has verbally agreed a full-time transfer to Plymouth Argyle picture: Dan Mullan/Pinnacle

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Plymouth Argyle manager Carl Fletcher is close to concluding a deal to bring Alex MacDonald back from Burnley during the January transfer window.

The 22-year-old attacker, who recently completed a second loan spell with the Pilgrims, has reached a verbal agreement on a full-time return to Home Park. However, Fletcher must move players on before he can recruit MacDonald, or anyone else, because of the financial situation at the npower League Two club.

Below-budget attendances this season, and the continuing legacy of Argyle's crash into administration in 2011, mean there is no spare money for Fletcher to spend. He has put 35-year-old centre-back Darren Purse on the transfer list in an attempt to improve that situation.

Fletcher has no problem with Purse continuing as Argyle captain for as long as he remains at the club. There is no guarantee that Purse, who is under contract to the Pilgrims until the end of the season, will leave during January, anyway.

The versatile MacDonald made 35 appearances in two loan spells at Argyle over the past year and scored six goals. His chances of regular first-team football at Burnley seem remote, so he is ready to make a full-time move to Devon.

Fletcher told said: "I have spoken to Macca [MacDonald]. He wants to come [to Argyle] and we want him here.

"It's all done verbally, we've just got to wait on finances. We've got nothing to play with at the minute and we've just got to wait and see where we go with that.

"It's like any kind of business, you've got to try to run it properly. With all the trouble we've had at the club over the past few years, there is no point throwing money about.

"You've got to run it as a business. I'm sure everyone involved with the club, and all the fans, appreciate that. We've got good fans who are understanding of where we were and where we are now. We have to cut our cloth accordingly.

"We are a club with great traditions and we want to be here for years and years in the future, so we have got to make sure the finances are done in the right way."

Purse said last week he did not want to leave Argyle, but understood the monetary situation. Fletcher would not comment on whether there had been interest in the defender from other clubs as yet.

He said: "As it stands at the minute, he's our player until the end of the season. Unless another club comes in and wants him, and everything works, he's going to be our player. That's where we are with it. If he stays, then great. If he goes, we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

"In football, things can change so quickly from one day until the next. But, as it stands, he's our player and an important part of the team."

Fletcher is also hoping to extend the short-term contracts of wingers Joe Lennox and Isaac Vassell. Both players have deals which expire on December 31.

The Pilgrims are awaiting confirmation from the Football League that new deals for the pair will see them comply with salary cap regulations. Fletcher said: "I'd like to keep them but it's just down to finances now."

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