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McBride's swan song for Preston North End to come Wednesday against Wolverhampton

PRESTON, England (Thursday, March 8, 2001) -- Striker Brian McBride plans on returning to the Columbus Crew in time to start the Major League Soccer season.

McBride, who has played 10 games during his loan to Preston North End in England's first division, told Reuters his last game for Preston will be next Wednesday against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

"Playing in England was something I wanted to do all my life and now I look forward to getting back with Columbus," said McBride, a United States national team starting striker when healthy. "I've had a very good time in England, but it would have been difficult to leave the States which I regard as my home."

Reuters also reported Preston made a $1.84 million transfer offer for McBride, but it was rejected by MLS.

"We made an offer to bring Brian McBride to the club, but they indicated to us that we would need to at least double that sum," Preston North End chief executive Tony Scholes was quoted in that report. "Quite clearly we were a long way apart. He is a big marketing asset with the World Cup coming up, so they place an extremely high valuation on him and it was one we couldn't match."

A bizarre injury limited McBride’s time with Preston. In his debut match for the North Enders against Stockport County September 16, he suffered a blow to his right arm. While he played with the injury for two more games, the bruised area eventually developed a blood clot which needed to be surgically removed.

Because of the anti-clotting medication he was required to take, he was not cleared to play again until December 22.

The blood clot continued a string of bad luck for the 28-year-old with regard to injuries. He missed eight games over six weeks in the middle of the 2000 MLS season after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured right cheekbone suffered in a June 17 match at Colorado. Still, he still finished fourth on the team in scoring with 17 points on six goals and five assists in 18 games.

During the 1999 MLS campaign, he was sidelined for five games over a five-week period after he fractured his left cheekbone in a collision with San Jose's Jamie Clark that May 9.

McBride also was unfortunate two weeks ago when he had to leave early in the first half of the U.S. World Cup qualifier against Mexico on his home field in Columbus. An inadvertent head of a Mexican defender caught McBride in the right eye which was badly bruised and closed shut. The U.S. still won 2-0.

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