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Adrian Heath was moving ever closer to the capture of Doncaster Rovers’ central defender Darren Moore but learned he might have to start searching for a right-back too with speculation over Gary Parkinson’s future at Turf Moor.

The 29-year-old, who had started his career with Middlesbrough, had been with Burnley since January 1994 and had made over 160 appearances. However, he’d been on a week-to-week contract during the previous season and it was being reported that Preston boss Gary Peters was ready to offer him a three-year deal, one year more than the deal on the table at Burnley.

Manager Heath had been tight lipped on Parkinson’s future and, in any case, was away on an FA coaching course in Essex when the Preston speculation surfaced. It was thought that the player could turn down both offers and move to a third club who had, it was reported, offered him a very lucrative deal.

Meanwhile, everything was moving forward with the Moore deal. Doncaster boss Kerry Dixon didn’t want to lose his defender but accepted that his club needed the money. It looked as though a £250,000 deal was imminent.

The move for goalkeeper Dean Williams had been put on the back burner until he’d fully recovered from the two broken fingers and Heath had been very guarded when asked again about Paul McGrath and Paul Stewart. It was believed he was moving quickly to try and bring them both to Burnley.

With all this speculation, it had to be remembered that three members of the Burnley squad had undergone surgery during the week. All of Marlon Beresford, Damian Matthew and Gerry Harrison had been under the knife for hernia operations and for Harrison it was the second surgery in a week having already had some floating bone removed from his ankle.

For Beresford, this was the time he’d had an operation to try and resolve an ongoing groin injury and we also had Peter Swan in the surgery queue to repair Achilles tendon damage.

Off the field, there was good news for some supporters but not as good news for others. Season ticket prices were announced for the forthcoming season with increases across the board but the boxes in the North Stand, which had been left more than half empty in 1996/97, would see prices reduced to try to increase the take up.

Supporters who purchased season tickets prior to 23rd June would receive a discount. For example, the discount adult price in the North Stand Upper was £238 with an increase to £266 at full price. The lowest price tickets were in the East Stand Lower at £153, increasing to £170.

However, there was concern at such a poor take up of the boxes in the first season since the building of the North Stand and, as such, commercial manager John Stringer was moved to concentrate on re-establishing the lotteries. Club secretary John Howarth was given the role of heading a new marketing team along with Mandy Speak, Carol Pritchard and Val Bradshaw.

“We have drastically reduced the price of the boxes to make them more affordable,” said Howarth. “Companies can now decide to just use the box and not have food if they want to keep the price down further, and companies can use their boxes for meetings and similar functions not on match days.”

Howarth also said there would be an electronic scoreboard in operation for the new season and there would be further advertising opportunities in various parts of the ground including the waste bins.

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