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Baird Buoyed By Debut

24 March 2014

Chris Baird was satisfied with his first performance for the Clarets after Burnley had registered their joint-biggest away league win of the season at the Valley on Saturday.

Goals from Ashley Barnes, Sam Vokes and a deflected effort by Michael Kightly gave Sean Dyche’s team their fifth victory in the last six games as they ran out comfortable winners against Charlton Athletic.

Burnley strengthened their grip on second place in the Championship table and also extended their unbeaten league run to 15 matches.

And Baird, who signed a short-term deal at Turf Moor last Thursday and went straight into the starting line-up in place of injured Kieran Trippier just two days later, was happy with his debut appearance for the Clarets.

Speaking shortly after the final whistle in south-east London, the right-back said: “I really enjoyed it. It was nice to be on the pitch playing again and get 90 minutes under my belt. And it was a terrific win [too].

“There was a little bit of pressure on me. I didn’t want to jinx things and concede or lose.

“The most important thing was to get the win, but I think I did all right myself.

“I was a bit tired towards the 75th minute. My calf felt a bit tight, but it was going to be because I’d not played in a long time. A really bad pitch didn’t help [either].”

The Northern Irishman joined Burnley on a free transfer having been without a club since leaving Reading back in January.

He had endured a difficult time, but was delighted to be welcomed into his new surroundings by two familiar faces – former international teammate Michael Duff and manager Dyche.

Baird added: “It was difficult [to be out of contract] and to be training by myself. Mentally, it was really, really hard.

“You just have to dig in and keep believing.

“I did that and I’m quite mentally strong anyway, so I’m down here [now].

“We know each other really well [with Duff]. He’s got the experience, so have I. We [both] played well today on a difficult pitch.

“I was on loan from Southampton to Watford when I first met [Dyche] and played alongside him. He is exactly the same [now] – he hasn’t changed! He’s been terrific since I’ve been here.”

Following a good debut in front of Clarets travelling supporters who were in fine voice all game at the Valley, the 32-year-old is now looking forward to his first home appearance.

Burnley take on another relegation-threatened side in Doncaster Rovers at Turf Moor on Tuesday night.

And while itching to make his home bow, Baird is taking nothing for granted and expects a tough contest against the South Yorkshire side.

He said: “You never know. It’s such a hard league. Anyone can beat anyone.

“Our confidence is sky high, [though], especially after the 3-0 win today and we’re going for the three points.

“That’s the main thing: we’re going to keep going.

“We’ll be at home and we’ll have our fans behind us.

“Every time I played at Burnley, it was very, very noisy and there was a lot of them [fans] here today. It’s a long way to come, so the three points are a great reward for them.”

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