More on Burchill
Wednesday, 21st Feb 2001 07:57
Mark Burchill will begin his Town career tomorrow when he wings his way in from Scotland. The deal for the Celtic striker has a few loose ends to be tied up and will be involved with the Town squad for the home game with Everton on Saturday.
Town manager George Burley said last night after news of the loan move broke: "Nothing has been finalised or completed at this stage but we are speaking to the player's representative and if everything is agreed Mark will join us on Thursday."
The three month spell at Town will be Burchill's second loan period this season. Between September and December he spent time at Birmingham City where he scored five goals in seven starts plus another ten appearances as sub. Despite concerns over his match fitness Trevor Francis was keen to sign the Broxburn-born player and a fee of £1.5 million was agreed with Celtic. The deal fell through as Burchill's financial demands were more than the midlands club could afford.
Martin O'Neill is not overly keen on selling Burchill, seeing him as one for the future, but the 5'8" goalscorer wants first team football. That is somewhat limited at Celtic with Burchill behind the likes of Henrik Larssen and Chris Sutton in the pecking order and reluctantly O'Neill has had to accept the player's wishes.
As for the possibility of a long-term move George Burley is not making any decisions yet: "If Mark joins us we will take one thing at a time and see how things work out during the loan spell. Three months will give us enough time to assess the situation."
Burchill is highly rated in Scotland and signed a professional contract with Celtic in June 1997 at just 17-years-old. Now 20 he is one of Scotland's bright young hopes and has made six appearances for his nation already. One of these was against England in the European Championships play-off last year, but I don't think we should hold that against him.
This season he has scored nine goals for Celtic and Birmingham, three of these came in Celtic's 7-0 thrashing of Luxembourg's Jeunesse Esch in the UEFA Cup.
The early signs are that Town fans are generally pleased with the acquisition of Burchill. Our frontpage poll (see http://www.twtd.co.uk) set up yesterday evening sees 84.5% of respondents in favour of the move.
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