English League 2

McCormick makes Argyle return

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Thu, 09 May 2013 20:43:00

Phil Jagielka has called on Everton to ensure that they kick on again this summer once David Moyes heads for Manchester United.

It has been a whirlwind 24 hours for all concerned at Goodison Park, with it announced on Thursday that Moyes is to succeed retiring Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

He has agreed a six-year contract with the Red Devils and will officially take their reins on 1st July.

Moyes will see out the 2012/13 campaign with Everton, with there still two games to come, and it is important for them to end the season as positively as possible.

The challenge facing the Toffees then will be to find a suitable replacement for Moyes and to continue to build on the positive foundations he has put in place over the last 11 years.

Jagielka is convinced they can do just that, telling Everton's official website: "Like the rest of the squad I have nothing but the highest regard for David Moyes.

"He is a first class operator on and off the training ground and on behalf of the players I would like to place on record my thanks for the work he has done improving the team.

"It was as much of a shock to the dressing room as I'm sure it was to Everton and our fans.

"All the lads wish him the very best for the future but we still have two important Premier League games to play and all our attentions will be focused on winning against West Ham and at Chelsea.

"Once the season is over we can collectively look forward in order to ensure we continue to build on the positive work of the past few seasons."

Third-placed Caley Thistle are looking to remain in pole position for a Europa League spot when they host United on Saturday and could wrap up their first European qualification if St Johnstone lose at Celtic Park earlier on.

Butcher has overseen a dramatic change in fortunes for a side which found themselves bottom of the table for a long spell during an injury crisis early last season.

And he believes his players will relish being in such a heady position in the penultimate match of the season, rather than fear the consequences of defeat.

Butcher, whose side edged a seven-goal thriller against Motherwell last weekend, said: "We have only lost three games at home this season - two to Celtic and one to Motherwell and they are the top two teams.

"It's been a remarkable run. If you look at last year we lost the first three home games. It's been a massive turnaround in fortune, style of play and attitude.

"This is not pressure, it's pleasure. It's pleasure being where we are and a pleasure winning, and hopefully we can replicate that on Saturday.

"The key thing for the players is to have no regrets - to go out and enjoy it, and win."

The striker has impressed while on loan at the Edinburgh club and was voted PFA Scotland young player of the year by his fellow professionals on Sunday.

Parent club Wolves ultimately have the final say on his future with a one-year option on his contract at Molineux.

However, former Hibs boss Collins says the best option for the 22-year-old could be an extended stay in the SPL.

The former Scotland midfielder said: "From an international point of view, if he's playing in the SPL and scoring goals every week, then Gordon Strachan is going to be aware of him.

"I don't think it really matters where you are.

"If you are playing well and scoring a lot of exceptional goals, then there is a good chance the Scotland manager will have his eye on you.

"He's a good fit for Hibs. He's the main man, he's very comfortable and relaxed and he knows the team needs him and he knows the fans love him.

"He's in a comfort zone - but a good comfort zone.

"I think if he goes down south he will be outside his comfort zone and I wouldn't bet money on him being a huge success.

"He's got talent, he's a good football player and he's got self-belief, which is so important."

Griffiths made his international debut in a friendly against Luxembourg last November.

The views of Collins were echoed by Strachan's predecessor Craig Levein.

He said: "When you're the Scotland manager, you get advice from a lot of people, as you can imagine.

"You have to use your own judgement and I feel, this season, in my eyes, he has become more of a team member than he'd been previously.

"He's working harder and I think he is getting the rewards for that and Hibs are getting the rewards.

"I've no doubt, if he continues in the vein that he's going, that Gordon will have a look at him and he might get a few games coming up."

The 29-year-old, who left Oxford at the end of the season, made 157 appearances for the Pilgrims between 2001 and 2008.

That spell at Home Park came to an end after he was found guilty of causing the death by dangerous driving of two children.

Following his release from jail in June 2012 the shotstopper returned to football with Truro before signing for the U's in January.

"Although Luke made a dreadful mistake with unthinkable consequences, he has served his time and is totally remorseful," said Argyle chairman James Brent.

"While I respect others who have alternative views, from a moral standpoint, the board and I think Luke is entitled to rehabilitation.

"John Sheridan wanted to sign him and the club is totally supportive of that."

A statement on Argyle's official website revealed that, as part of the deal, McCormick will donate a significant sum of money and give his time to support a local children's charity.

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