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Football: Larne in battle for Dickson.

Byline: ALEX McGREEVY

LARNE may be an unfashionable, cash-strapped, middle-of-the-road football club that depends on Premier League status to survive, but their chairman "will be damned" if they are pushed over in the fight to keep Mark Dickson.

The 23-year-old striker who was once on the books of Northampton, is now the most sought after player in the Irish League.

And after his hat-trick in the Irish Cup quarter-final replay against Loughgall on Tuesday, chairman Sam McCready is preparing himself for an all mighty tug-o-war when Dickson becomes a free agent this summer.

McCready said: "Every time Mark scores a goal I greet it with as much enthusiasm as I do with expectancy of him being approached by another Irish League club.

"Our fans love him and he is highly respected here. Mark is easy going and quiet and likes the surrounds. He is happy at Larne, but we realise his talent will take him elsewhere. So, we are preparing ourselves to do all in our power to keep him.

"We don't want to stop his progress but we would much rather see him go to an English or Scottish club than stay in the Irish League."

Should Dickson to his childhood club Linfield, Glentoran, Ballymena or Portadown, Larne can only command development compensation - about pounds 6,000.

CAPTION(S):

WANTED: Dickson
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 13, 2005
Words:222
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