MacDonald's move to Argyle in balance
Alex MacDonald's proposed move to Plymouth Argyle is rated "extremely doubtful", according to the Burnley player's agent.
The forward, 22, had been poised to rejoin the Pilgrims in the January transfer window, after successful loan spells at Home Park.
However, the sacking of manager Carl Fletcher on New Year's Day left MacDonald's transfer from Turf Moor in tatters and the player "shattered", according to his agent, James Cook.
Cook said Fletcher would have been a major factor in the Scotland Under-21 international penning a permanent move to Plymouth.
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However, it was not exclusive, said Cook, as MacDonald had also formed an affection for Argyle and was looking forward to moving his family to the Westcountry.
Now, said Cook, a transfer is unlikely although he would not rule out negotiations re-opening, should the new Argyle manager so desire.
Another factor is finances at Home Park, with the npower League Two strugglers needing to ship players out before making new signings.
Cook said: "It's a major blow to Alex. I don't think the move is going to happen now.
"Given Argyle have not yet appointed a new manager, it's extremely doubtful, which is a real shame for both Alex and the club. It's fair to say Alex was shattered when he heard Carl Fletcher had lost his job.
"He was on the phone to me straight away and I could tell he was upset, not just because his plans were up in the air, but also because Fletcher was no longer the manager.
"Alex loved his time at Home Park and was looking forward to getting back there on a permanent basis once the transfer window opened.
"He'd spent time on loan at Plymouth and that was successful, although Alex had missed not having his family around him. He has a baby daughter, Chloe, who was born in May and I know it hurt Alex a lot being away from his partner and little girl.
"But he was willing to uproot them from the North West and bring them down to the South West, so that he can play football regularly."
MacDonald signed a one-year extension to his contract with Championship Burnley at the end of the 2011-12 season, with his impressive loan spell and goals helping to keep Argyle in the Football League playing no small part in the new deal.
Cook said MacDonald was now working hard in training with the Clarets' first team, and had already impressed Burnley boss Sean Dyche, who took over in October, with his commitment and dedication.
"Alex is a pro and has knuckled down in training as we all knew he would," said Cook. "It could be he'll stay at Burnley until his contract runs out in the summer."
Argyle are on target to appoint their new manager by early next week. Interviews have already taken place as the League Two strugglers seek a successor to Fletcher.
Former Argyle goalkeeper, youth team coach and assistant manager Kevin Blackwell, now the boss of Bury, is on the Pilgrims' shortlist. So, too, are former Plymouth centre-back Keith Hill and John Sheridan, the former Oldham Athletic and Chesterfield manager – and it is Sheridan who might be the chosen one.
The 48-year-old former Leeds United and Republic of Ireland midfielder impressed during an interview with club officials yesterday, and he could be asked to take the helm at Home Park. An appointment might be made as early as Monday.
Romain Larrieu and Kevin Nancekivell have been put in temporary charge for the Pilgrims' trip to second-placed Port Vale in League Two today. However, if all goes according to plan, the successor to Fletcher should be in place early next week.