Sean Dyche believes Matt Lowton has gone from strength to strength this season after rewarding the defender with a new long-term deal at Turf Moor.
Lowton, who has signed up until 2020, has started 29 of the Clarets’ 31 Premier League games this term after helping Burnley win the Championship title last season.
The former Aston Villa and Sheffield United right-back believes he is playing the best football of his career as a key part of a back-four that has been integral to the Clarets’ bid to establish themselves in the top flight.
And Dyche also feels the 27-year-old – who clocked up the 100th Premier League appearance of his career last weekend – is on an upward curve.
The Burnley boss said: “Unfortunately, he got injured in the Championship season and had to wait his turn because Tendayi (Darikwa) had done so well.
“We changed it at the turn of the year and the rest was well documented about our winning run and he played a part in that.
“In pre-season he started slowly, like a few players, getting to grips with what the division offers and he's got stronger and stronger as the season has gone on.
“I think he's grown with the side this season.
“He's worked well as a team player, as well as for himself, and that's an important factor of how the players operate here.
“He's agreed his contract which is good, and there are other situations that are still on-going.”
Lowton hasn’t missed a game since a one-match ban forced him to sit out Burnley’s 1-0 Boxing Day victory over Middlesbrough.
He is set to figure in the return at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday but Steven Defour is a doubt for the trip to Teesside.
Defour made his first start since the end of January in Tuesday night’s 1-0 win over Stoke, a result which keeps the Clarets seven points clear of the bottom three and two points behind ninth-placed Southampton.
Steven Defour is an injury concern for the trip to Middlesbrough
But the Belgium international was replaced early in the second half and is being assessed.
“I took him off early because he got a knock just above his knee,” said Dyche.
“We're having that checked out. We don't it's too serious but he hasn't managed to train today (Thursday) and we will have to monitor that.”
Winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson won’t be part of the travelling squad as the Clarets look for a first away win of the season but is close to a return to first-team duty.
“He's back in full training and we're looking to get him some form of a game, or a segment of a game, next week, but he seems really clear at the moment, which is good news,” Dyche added.