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Kev's Bittersweet Baptism

5 April 2013

Defender Long looking up as season draws to an end

Kevin Long admits he has endured a bittersweet baptism of fire for the Clarets.

After spells on loan with Accrington Stanley, Rochdale and Portsmouth, the 22-year-old Irishman has waited patiently for his chance in the first team squad at Turf Moor.

And having made nine appearances in his breakthrough season, the former Cork City defender aims to cement his first team place as the season nears its end.

Long said: “I’ve been delighted to get a run in the team. It’s just what I wanted ever since I joined the club.
“I’m delighted form a personal point of view, but results haven’t really gone our way so I’m kind of disappointed with that.”

Long, who joined the Clarets from Cork City in January 2010, has finally been given his chance by manager Sean Dyche following 60 combined appearances in the lower leagues at Stanley, Rochdale and Pompey.

Dyche gave the centre back his first start against Watford back in December - and competition remains fierce in the Clarets’ centre back positions.

However, an injury to Michael Duff in the warm-up at Watford opened the door again for the Irishman, who admits the last gasp penalty conceded against Nottingham Forest on Easter Monday was a bitter blow as the Clarets look to cement their Championship status for another season.

That fourth draw in five games left Burnley just four points above the relegation zone, albeit having lost just once in their last six league games.

And Long insists the Clarets need to redouble their efforts against rock-bottom Bristol City at Turf Moor on Saturday to get the three points that could push Sean Dyche’s men back into the top half of a congested table.

The defender said: “Monday was hard to take. I thought we played quite well but some of the decisions in the game went against us and I think the penalty came in the 97th minute, which was hard to take.

“But you can’t keep playing well and keep losing and drawing games, so I think after a while it has to even out and decisions start to go our way.

“As I said it’s just hard to take, but we have to get over it and move on to Saturday and pick up three points.

“We had a talk after Monday’s game, but that’s gone now. 

“Everyone is fighting for points so it’s going to be a hard game, but we know we just have to focus on ourselves and hopefully pick up the three points.”

Story by Callam Bullas

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