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Ward Relishing Premier League Challenge

19 August 2014

New signing Stephen Ward is relishing the challenge of the Premier League having signed from Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The 28-year-old Republic of Ireland international, who made made 94 appearances for Wolves in the top-flight between 2009 and 2012, put pen to paper on a three-year deal with the club on Friday, having spent the entirety of the 2013/14 season on loan at Brighton and Hove Albion.

And as he bids to add even more Premier League know-how to the Clarets dressing room, Ward believes he has made the perfect career move as he settles in to life at Turf Moor.

He said: “There were so many things that attracted me to the club.

“Playing against them last year for Brighton you could see how good they were and the pull of the Premier League is something that is very difficult to turn down.

“I knew a few of the lads here already and they spoke highly of the gaffer and the group of players we’ve got here.

“It’s a great group of lads and they’ve really helped me settle. It’s a really tight-knit group and there is a great team spirit.

“It has been a really easy transition for me to make in my first couple of days training.

“I had three years in the Premier League with Wolves and I know all the ups and downs of it.

“Hopefully that sort of knowledge can help within the squad.

“But we’ve got other players who have played in the Premier League and some that haven’t experienced it yet.

“I remember when I played in the division for the first time and it’s a great feeling and we’ve definitely got players here who are capable.

“I think that will show throughout the year and hopefully we can have a successful season.”

Ward was ineligible for last night’s top-flight opener against Chelsea but he watched on as his teammates fell to a 3-1 defeat.

But the Dublin-born defender was upbeat and insists there were plenty of encouraging signs for the rest of the campaign, starting at Swansea City on Saturday.

Ward added: “I thought we equipped ourselves really well.

“Chelsea are a fantastic team, one of the best teams in Europe perhaps so it was never going to be easy.

“I felt we put in a good showing and I think a lot of people will take note of what we’re about and what kind of damage we can do to teams.

“Hopefully we can learn a lot from that game and take it forward into the next couple of months.”

He could be in line to make his Burnley bow on Saturday at the Liberty Stadium subject to Premier League clearance but despite being vastly experienced, Ward knows it will be a challenge to break into the starting eleven.

“I’ll be looking to start on Saturday but I’m under no illusions. The squad had a great year last year and the players have already shown the manager what they can do.

“It is up to me to come in and train as best I can and hopefully give the gaffer a headache.

“It’s great to be here and I’m looking forward to the challenge we all face this year.”

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