BURY target Ben Parker has spoken of his shock after signing for the club, only to be told the next day that his dream chance to resurrect his career had been blocked due to a transfer embargo.
The injury-plagued former Leeds full-back had been training with the Gigg Lane outfit for six weeks in the hope of securing a contract.
And he was finally offered an opportunity to play for the first-team last week on non-contract terms, with the prospect of the deal becoming more permanent if he performed well.
There was then confusion after Bury announced the deal in a statement, but later took it off their website, with the player himself shocked to hear the news.
“As far as I was concerned I had signed for the club,” said the 25-year-old defender, whose contract at Leeds - the club he joined as an eight-year-old - ran out in the summer.
“I arrived for training on Friday morning hoping to be involved in the squad for the weekend, only to be told by the manager (Kevin Blackwell) that the club had been put under a transfer embargo and my deal could not go through.
“I knew from the start that money at the club was tight, and was happy to play for free until I could prove my fitness but I never expected anything like this.”
Mystery still surrounds the reasons behind the Football League's decision to impose an embargo.
Parker said that he was given no explanation of what was behind the ruling when Blackwell broke the news to him, only that he hoped it would be resolved quickly.
"I can't thank the gaffer enough for giving me the chance I needed," said Parker, who played under Blackwell at Elland Road and went on to make 41 appearances in the first team before a series of serious injuries blighted his career.
"I think he was just as disappointed as me when he broke the news to me but said that I was still welcome to come in to train, keep myself fit and play in reserve games, and if the situation was resolved quickly that, hopefully, the deal could still be there."
The Football League have so far refused to confirm any details of the embargo, why it has been put in place or even that it exists, while Bury chairman Brian Fenton was yesterday unavailable for comment.
It is understood, however, that the six players on loan at Gigg Lane, including Wanderers’ midfielder Gregg Wylde, will have to return to their parent clubs either straight away or when their deals expire, and Bury will not be allowed to replace them in the January transfer window.