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Irvine rules out Tonge deal

16 December 2009 15:25

(GSM) - Preston North End manager Alan Irvine has admitted that Championship club cannot afford to sign on-loan midfielder Michael Tonge on a permanent deal.

The Stoke City playmaker has impressed following his loan move to Deepdale, but the former Everton coach told skysports.com that a loan deal is more likely, although no talks have begun with the Potters about that yet.

"It is unlikely that we will be able to turn Michael's move into a permanent one because he is on a long contract at Stoke and we simply can't afford the wages he is on there," said Irvine.

"So, a loan extension is more likely, but that is more up to Stoke and Michael to decide initially because it is their decision first and foremost.

"He needed to get some games under his belt and he has done that so far, but I haven't spoke to Tony (Pulis) yet about what will happen after his loan expires, so it is unfair to say whether we can extend it or not."

The Lilywhites face an on-song Nottingham Forest side this week which looks likely to feature former Preston skipper Paul McKenna and Irvine understands how the fans might find it difficult to see the 32-year-old in a red shirt.

"I've not been here for that many years, but it will certainly be strange for the supporters and those who have been at the club for a long time to see Paul playing against us. He was a terrific servant to the club and left on very good terms, so I wish him well after the game against us."

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