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Winger has fallen for Motherwell and is ready to settle down

It took Lionel Ainsworth about two minutes to declare exactly what the Motherwell support wanted to hear.

"I'd be more than happy to stay," said the on-loan Rotherham United winger with a smile, before waxing lyrical about just how much he has enjoyed his time so far at the Lanarkshire club.

The 26-year-old's loan deal is about to expire; tomorrow's match against Inverness Caledonian Thistle is ostensibly his last appearance for Motherwell, although behind the scenes an extension is being hastily arranged.

It is an agreement apparently close to fruition and likely to tempt Rotherham to let their player stay a little longer. "We're quite near, I think, I'm hopeful," added Stuart McCall, his manager. "We're probably going to have to pay him a little bit more than we were paying, which is unfortunate, because we probably haven't got it.

"He's scored four in four now so the money keeps going up. But I don't think down in England they watch Scottish football, so keep it quiet!"

One of the game's archetypal wanderers, Ainsworth has been up and down the country, flitting from club to club but never finding the right place to call his own on a long-term basis. His sojourn in Scotland, though, has convinced the winger of the merits of going steady with a town of which he is fond.

"I've always wanted to [settle down]," said the Englishman, who scored in a win over St Johnstone on New Year's Day. "I've been around, done my two years and then not been offered anything, for reasons I don't know. I've enjoyed [Scottish football] immensely, beyond belief.

"Obviously, it's not televised much down in England, you don't see it. But I've had a lot of friends come up and they've enjoyed it when they've witnessed it. It's a good standard."

Ainsworth's contract at his parent club expires at the end of the season, but the winger seemed happy, eager even, to consider the possibility of a permanent move to Fir Park when June comes. "I'd definitely have a look at that," he admitted. "I think it's a brilliant club. Since I got here, the way I've been treated . . . it's absolutely top notch.

"I've been at a few clubs, and everything about the club [Motherwell], right down to the kit man, the people who work in the office, they help you out. All the lads appreciate it and there's no-one here that gets above their station. We play as a team and that's the major thing for us."

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