Fleetwood Town have signed AFC Fylde hotshot Richie Allen.
Fylde’s leading scorer was the subject of an official, seven-day approach from the Highbury club and the deal went through last night.
Town are set to loan Allen straight back to the Coasters to boost their Evo-Stik First Division North promotion push.
It is Allen’s second stint at the club he left just over four years ago, and he said: “It feels great to be back at Fleetwood Town. It’s a massive step up for me. I just want to start full-time training and adapt to it.
“It’s probably the best ground in the Conference. I’ll take this – it’s the best of opportunities.”
The Warton-based club admitted they could not match the terms Fleetwood offered to the in-demand striker, who has netted 15 league goals this season.
Allen has also played with Bamber Bridge, Northwich Victoria and Kendal, and Fleetwood manager Micky Mellon is keen to get locally-based players on board.
The Town boss says Allen would be the type of player to benefit and flourish from full-time training.
Mellon said: “I like him as a player. He has good abilities and he has scored a lot of goals this season.”
AFC Fylde chairman David Haythornthwaite was already resigned to the Fleetwood deal going through when he said: “We offered Richie a new deal that would keep him with us until the end of the 2014-15 season.
“Unfortunately, the clubs pursuing Richie are offering what appear to be better terms and persuaded Richie not to sign for us.
“Despite the huge investments we are making, we are unable to compete with Fleetwood at this time.
“We have therefore accepted the fact that we have no alternative than to let Richie speak to Fleetwood.”
Meantime, Fleetwood winger Ryan Crowther is rejoining Hyde on a month’s loan.
Crowther came to Highbury as recently as November from the Conference North club, but now Mellon is sending him back, initially for a month. After 28 days, Fleetwood will instigate a 24-hour return clause.
Fleetwood defender Jack Duggan is poised to start another loan spell with Lancaster City, having also done a stint with Chester.
Fleetwood deny making a formal bid for York City’s talented midfielder Andre Boucaud, despite reports to the contrary.
The Highbury club say they had an approach from Boucaud’s agent prior to the FA Cup-tie with Blackpool, to see if they were interested.
Mellon told the agent he liked the player and was quoted a price.
It didn’t get any further than that and, in any case, Fleetwood were in the process of finalising the move for Wrexham’s Lee Fowler which went through on Monday.
Fleetwood have a rare free weekend as they have been knocked out of the FA Trophy – the second round takes place tomorrow.
Their next scheduled match is away to Darlington tomorrow week ... if it takes place.
There are dire warnings that the North-East club, which is in administration, could fold by the end of the week if a buyer is not found.
The fear within the Conference is that they will not be able to fulfil their fixtures.
Fleetwood and the rest of the Blue Square Bet Premier are monitoring the position closely.
There are all kind of possible repercussions, and if Darlington fold, Fleetwood are likely to step up their efforts to stage a behind-closed-doors friendly to maintain match sharpness.
Rob Atkinson and Anthony Barry are starting up light training, raising hope that these long-term injury casualties are getting closer to a return.
Mellon regards them as invaluable members of the squad – two of the best players in their respective positions in the Conference.
The Fleetwood boss added: “When they do return, it will be like signing two new players.”
Mellon will spend his Saturday on a scouting mission.