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Barnes Returns In Burnley XI Win

1 March 2016

Ashley Barnes made his first appearance for the Clarets since May as a Burnley XI beat Preston North End 2-0 at the Barnfield Training Centre.

The forward, 26, sealed his long-awaited return from a serious knee injury with an assist, setting up strike partner Rouwen Hennings, who scored a brace.

Barnes completed 45 minutes in his comeback game, with midfielder Dean Marney playing an hour in his own comeback from injury and Michael Duff finishing the 90 minutes.

Recent signing Lloyd Dyer also made his first appearance in a Burnley shirt, playing the duration of the training match.

The Clarets fielded a strong side, with nine of the starting 11 carrying Premier League experience.

Paul Robinson was in goal, behind a back four of Tendayi Darikwa, Duff, Kevin Long and Matthew Taylor.

Fredrik Ulvestad partnered Marney in the centre of the park, with Dyer and Michael Kightly completing the midfield quartet.

Goalscorer Hennings led the line alongside Barnes, who was replaced by Chris Long at half time.

The visitors had a number of first team players featuring also, and forward Eoin Doyle came close to the opener after 10 minutes.

A cross in from the left should have brought the breakthrough, but the Cardiff City loanee stabbed over from 10-yards.

And it was the Clarets who broke the deadlock a minute later!

Dyer showed his pace down the left flank, before the winger squared to Hennings, who wonderfully rifled into the top right corner from 12-yards.

Marney then typically burst through from midfield, before going for goal with a 35-yard strike that crept wide.

As expected, Barnes was a handful all half for the Preston defence, and the forward almost sealed his return with a goal!

Hennings found the former Brighton striker inside the box with a delicate through ball, however Barnes couldn’t connect cleanly and sliced his strike inches wide.

However, Barnes made amends two minutes later with an assist, as the Clarets doubled their lead 10 minutes before the break.

Kightly’s sensational diagonal ball forward found Barnes, who superbly controlled and teed up Hennings for a low drive across the keeper for his second of the afternoon.

The German forward almost sealed his hat-trick 10 minutes after the restart, half-volleying Darikwa’s through-ball over the crossbar from 30-yards.

Preston’s Ben Pearson, a recent signing from Manchester United, almost brought the arrears back down to one with a swirling effort that was brilliantly saved by Robinson.

And Long had a chance to extend Burnley’s advantage 20 minutes before time, however the Lilywhites’ stopper was quickly out to deny the summer arrival from Everton.

The Clarets had one more chance a minute from time, but Kightly couldn’t steer Darikwa’s whipped cross on target.  

Burnley: Robinson; Darikwa, Duff, K. Long, Taylor; Dyer, Marney (Hill 61), Ulvestad, Kightly; Hennings (Green 72), Barnes (C. Long 45)

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