Plymouth Argyle loan signing Alex MacDonald missing his family
PLYMOUTH Argyle loan signing Alex MacDonald has revealed he is finding it difficult putting football before his family.
MacDonald became a father for the first time in May when his partner, Ashley, gave birth to a daughter, Chloe.
The 22-year-old started a second loan spell with Argyle from Championship club Burnley at the end of August.
Since then, MacDonald has not seen much of his family and admitted he was 'putting a brave face on it'.
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However, he stressed he enjoyed playing for Argyle and working under manager Carl Fletcher.
MacDonald also stated his ambition of regular first team football and his desire to spend more time with his family could see him leave Burnley during the January transfer window.
His initial one-month loan to Argyle ended after the 2-1 home defeat by AFC Wimbledon last Saturday, but it has now been extended until the first week of December.
He will be available up to and including the Johnstone's Paint Trophy southern section quarter-final tie, on the week commencing December 3.
MacDonald told Herald Sport: "I have enjoyed every minute of being here (at Argyle), at a great club with great fans.
"And, like I have said many a time before, I enjoy working under the manager.
"I'm happy to be here for the next couple of months but I do need to settle down. It's hard at the minute with the missus and the baby being so far away. I'm here, there and everywhere.
"It's not ideal because I'm up there for a few days and then I'm back here for two or three weeks at a time and I don't see my daughter.
"Ever since I have been here I have put a brave face on it and just got on with it, but I have missed them so much.
"It's really hard, so I think I need a club where I'm wanted, where I'm enjoying my football, and, most of all, somewhere where my family is happy."
MacDonald, whose daughter was five months old yesterday, has a contract with Burnley until the end of this season.
He continued: "I think no-one can really understand my situation unless they have got kids themselves.
"It is so hard, but what I'm doing is trying to give my family the best possible life. That's the way I'm thinking of it.
"Come January, I think I need a solution. I need somewhere to set up home. Who knows where that is going to be?"
Argyle manager Carl Fletcher, himself a father of three, has been sympathetic to MacDonald's situation.
For example, he allowed him to stay up in Lancashire for the weekend after the Pilgrims' away game against Morecambe in September.
MacDonald (right) said: "Every time there is an away game up north I always ask the manager if I can stay up. He's a family man himself so he's fine about it, which is good."
Argyle also extended the loan spell of Aldershot Town striker Guy Madjo yesterday.
The 28-year-old will now be with the Pilgrims until December 15, which is when they are away to arch Devon rivals Exeter City in League Two.
Fletcher said: "Macca and Guy have both come in, settled well and added something to the team, and that's exactly what you want from loan players.
"Alex has been playing a little bit wider than normal, but he's one of those players who can do a job anywhere. He seems to be relishing that position.
"The good thing with Guy is he wants to do well and play. He always wants to improve, too, and can often be found doing extra on the training pitch."
The stays of MacDonald and Madjo at Home Park have now been extended as far as they are allowed under the 93-day 'emergency loan' system.
So neither will be allowed to play for Argyle in the run-up to Christmas.
However, the club could try to sign one or both of them permanently in January or, at the same time, bring them back on loan until the end of the season.
No talks have taken place yet about full-time moves to Home Park for either MacDonald or Madjo, according to Fletcher.
Argyle return to League Two action tomorrow when they travel to bottom-of-the-table and winless Barnet (3pm).
Fletcher has some selection issues to consider with some good individual performances coming from a much-changed team in the 2-1 victory over Aldershot Town in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy second round at Home Park on Tuesday.
He said: "There are 11 places up for grabs tomorrow. No-one is guaranteed a place in this team.
"I'm a firm believer that if people play well they get in the team. If you are not playing well, your place is going to be under threat."
THERE will be a match report on Argyle's game against Barnet on The Herald's website, www.thisisplymouth.co.uk, on Saturday night.