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Ward Ready For Promotion Battle

1 April 2016

Stephen Ward says the Clarets are ready to go again after the international break as they prepare for a top of the table clash at Brighton.

The Republic of Ireland international defender, who spent a year on loan at the Amex Stadium, went away with Martin O’Neill’s men for fixtures against Switzerland and Slovakia.

And as first meet second in the promotion race this weekend, Ward has stressed the importance of kicking on, starting with a result against his former employers.

He said: “We’re in a good position and we’ve given ourselves a good platform up to now and the international break gave the lads time to get a bit of freshness in the legs and we’re raring to go.

“It’s a massive game on Saturday and it’s nice to come back when your club is flying.

“It’s important we kick on because we’ve got some really vital games coming up and it’s going to be a really battle to make sure we get promoted.

“I had a great year down there and I’ve nothing but positive things to say about the club.

“I came very close to joining them permanently but Burnley came in at the last minute so I had a decision to make.

“I feel I’ve made the right one. I’ve really enjoyed my time here and hopefully now we can finish the job.”

Brighton have been impressive under Chris Hughton, and are one of only two sides not to have been outside the top six in the Sky Bet Championship.

Their challenge for automatic promotion has been built on a 21-match unbeaten run that equalled West Ham’s post-war record from the 1990-91 season.

But despite highlighting the importance of the fixture, Ward feels the one game at a time mentality and grounded nature of the Clarets squad will help them during the run-in.

“There are seven games after the weekend so there are plenty of points to play for. I don’t think one game is going to change the outcome of the season but it’s important.

“I think you’ll see it across the board here that nobody will be getting carried away. It’s the next game we focus on.

“It’s first against second from the outside but for us, although it is a massive game, we’re very good at keeping things grounded.”

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