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Long Is Ready, Willing And Able

Kevin Long eager to help top-four bid if needed to face Stoke City

11 December 2017

Kevin Long is ready to answer the call again if he is handed the task of trying to help the Clarets climb into the Premier League’s top four.

Long started his first league game of the season in the absence of injured captain Ben Mee against Watford last Saturday.

The Republic of Ireland international responded with a flawless performance at centre-back as a re-shuffled back line shared a seventh clean sheet of the campaign in a 1-0 win.

It was the first time Long has finished on the winning side in a top-flight game for Burnley after just four previous Premier League appearances.

But the 27-year-old – who has totalled 34 senior games for the Clarets – has never lost the faith of manager Sean Dyche and could start against Stoke City at Turf Moor on Tuesday night with Mee not certain to return after suffering a deep gash just above the knee at Leicester City 10 days ago.

“It was nice to get a run-out – it’s been a while – to shake a few cobwebs off and get out there,” Long told Clarets Player HD.

“All I can do is keep working hard on the training ground and keep myself fit.

“The lads have been outstanding, as you would gather with flying high up the league, so I can’t complain.

“But I got my chance and helped keep a clean sheet and hopefully I impressed the gaffer.

“That’s all I can do. We’ll see what happens on Tuesday night, but if called upon I’ll be ready.”

Having kept the same back four for the first 13 games of the campaign – goalkeeper Nick Pope slotting in behind the defence three-and-a-half matches in – Dyche has made a couple of changes in the three games since.

Ex-Stoke full-back Phil Bardsley replaced the injured Matt Lowton at Bournemouth a fortnight ago and after twice finishing on the winning team will be looking to make it a hat-trick against his former club on his 250th Premier League appearance .

And with Long breaking his duck, there has been no let-up in the Clarets’ momentum as they prepare to take on the Potters, knowing that a fourth win in five home games will take them up to fourth place in the table for at least 24 hours.

“It’s credit to the unit. We work well as a team. It’s not just individuals that are working,” added Long.

“When someone comes out, someone else is coming in and we are still performing at a high level.

“When you’re on a good run like we are, you just want to keep on going, keep playing and keep getting positive results.”

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