Sean Dyche hailed Michael Duff as a “warrior” as Burnley ended their pre-season with a convincing home win against Bradford City.
The evergreen defender took the acclaim of the Turf Moor crowd and put in another assured display as goals from Lukas Jutkiewicz and Matt Taylor sent the Clarets into the Championship season on the back of their best performance so far.
And Dyche insisted the longest-serving player at the club was again a contender to be at the heart of battle in the coming weeks and months.
The Clarets boss said: “Age is only a problem if you let it get to you and Michael doesn’t. He sees through that, as I do.
“If he is playing well and he is ready, he will be considered, and he is seriously considered; there’s no two ways about it.
“He showed that warrior like spirit again alongside Michael Keane and a clean sheet is a good habit.
“There were lots of goods habits today and I just think there is still a bit more polish to come as we look to evolve it further.
“In the first half, in particular, we didn’t score as many as we should have. We should have been 3-1 ahead at half time, but in the second half we looked more solid and passed the ball better and better and better.
“I put demands on the players and people will say well, it’s 2-0, but it could and probably should have been more.”
The only black spot on the day, which saw Matt Lowton miss out through injury, was a worrying knock sustained by Norwegian midfielder Fredrik Ulvestad, who was sent for X-Rays on an ankle problem sustained just three minutes into his substitute appearance.
Dyche said: “I was speaking to a very prominent manager today who managed for years at a very high level and he said what you need is to end pre-season fully fit; not just physically, but injury free.
“Unfortunately we’ve had a few knocks so we’ve had to use this game wisely, with Jelle (Vossen), Dave Jones and Lukas all coming off, just to be careful and make sure they’re well.
“Unfortunately, we’ve had a knock with Freddy, so we will await news on that. He has gone off for an X-Ray and at this stage I must make it clear that’s precautionary, but he took a knock and it’s an awkward one when we looked at it again.”
“In addition, Matt has a problem with his shin and in the old days that would be called growing pains. It can settle down though, so we’ll see how that one goes.”
Lowton’s absence led to a swift debut for new signing from Chesterfield Tendayi Darikwa, who stole the show with a stunning debut at right back.
Dyche explained: “Tendayi came in and that wasn’t anything to do with Matt. We already had reports on him and Frank McParland was big on him last season.
“When we spoke we said yes and when we saw him with our own eyes (last weekend) that’s when we thought he looked the right type who is hungry for more.
“He is hungry to be here and he signed on Thursday evening, stayed over and had the final parts of the medical on Friday, before borrowing someone’s boots for training.
“Then he gets in his car and heads back to his family, then comes straight back the same day has a night in the hotel and plays today.
“If you encapsulate all that, I thought his was a very, very good performance!”