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Former Burnley striker ready to face 'grandad' at Wembley
THE last time both Alex MacDonald and Graham Alexander were at Wembley they were on the same team, and were winners with Burnley as the Clarets won the Championship play-offs and promotion to the Premier League.
Five years on, they are in opposite camps, both striving for the same goal.
Alexander, now manager of Fleetwood Town, has taken the Cod Army to the League Two play-off final at the end of his first full season in charge.
On Bank Holiday Monday they will face Burton Albion, who MacDonald joined after leaving Turf Moor last summer, to play for a place in League One.
After sharing success in 2009, this time only one of them will be celebrating.
“It’s very weird, said MacDonald, a product of Burnley’s youth system who spent seven years with the Clarets as scholar and professional.
“It’s a hard one because Grezza was always someone that I looked up to when I was a kid and helped me a lot when my head wasn’t quite in the right place for personal reasons. He was always one that was there for me if I needed anyone.
“We used to call him ‘Grandad’.
“Even playing against him in the league games this year it was weird, but we had a good catch-up afterwards.
“But there’s so much at stake in this game for both of us.
“The last time we were both there we went up with Burnley. It was a fantastic day and something that both of us will look back on and never forget.
“Now we both want the same outcome but one of us is going to be on the losing side.”
But should MacDonald be the one celebrating promotion to League One, he admits his first thought would be with Alexander.
“I would be devastated for him,” the former Scotland Under 21 striker admitted.
“The first person I would go to at the final whistle would be him. And if it was the other way round, I would be the first to congratulate him.
“But already, in his first full season as a manager, he’s done a great job. Every time we’ve played Fleetwood it’s been a tough game. They play the right way.
“It’s a hard one for me because Grezza is someone I’ve looked up to throughout my career and still do. Very rarely will you come across a pro like Grezza was. I still take bits and pieces of what he used to do when we were at Burnley together and use them now, the things that he taught me. But without question I want to win on Monday.”
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