Clarets midfielder Micky Mellon has rejoined Tranmere Rovers as Burnley boss Stan Ternent steps up his re-building plans for next season.

Ternent allowed Mellon to move to Prenton Park on a free transfer now rather than in the summer when he would become a free agent and not be offered a new deal at Turf Moor.

And others are set to follow as Ternent re-shuffles his pack to make way for new arrivals ahead of the 2001/02 campaign.

Some of the players out of contract in the summer -- such as the likes of Chris Brass, Dean West and possibly Paul Smith -- as well as some of the Clarets' younger professionals may be helped to find new clubs in the search for regular first-team football.

Mellon joined Burnley from Tranmere for £350,000 in January, 1999 and in his first season helped the Clarets beat the drop from Division Two.

He was then a key member of the squad that clinched promotion last season with his goal at Scunthorpe on the final day of the campaign proving crucial.

The 28-year-old Scot helped the Clarets gain a foothold in Division One this time around but with his first-team opportunities likely to become more limited, Mellon was delighted to make the switch back to Prenton Park where he will be pitched into another relegation dogfight.

He said: "It was the right move for everybody. Burnley are going to be safe now and the manager has done me a favour in not keeping me until the end of the season and allowing me to get fixed up now.

"As soon as I heard it was Tranmere, there was nobody else I was really interested in.

"It's really a place where I feel I belong." I'm looking forward to going back and hopefully helping them maintain their safety.

"The manager knows what I can do and is very familiar with the way I play. He thinks that maybe I can help them out of it and that's what I aim to do."

Mellon won't be eligible to join Tranmere's FA Cup crusade but is due to return to Turf Moor later this season in League action for his new club.

And the former Blackpool player is certain to get a warm reception for the part he has played in re-establishing the Clarets at their current level.

He added: "I have had a brilliant time at Burnley. We have had a lot of success this season to be back in the top ten of the First Division. Two years ago I don't think anyone could have envisaged that.

"I'm leaving the club on a high and couldn't have asked for a better time. Burnley now have to keep making progress and I'm sure Stan Ternent will be doing that.

"I hope they keep marching on and making progress and get where they belong -- which is the Premier League."