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Bardsley Stakes A Claim

Defender knows it's tough but aims to push for Premier League place

20 September 2017

Phil Bardsley bridged an 11-year gap as he made his Clarets’ home ‘debut’ and hopes his next taste of action won’t be too far away.

More than a decade after playing on loan for Burnley, the former Manchester United, Sunderland Stoke City defender made his first Turf Moor start since his summer signing from Stoke as the Clarets went out of the Carabao Cup on penalties.

Right-back Bardsley played the full 120 minutes of the 2-2 draw before Leeds United went through to the last 16 on penalties.

And the 32-year-old is doing everything he can to push for a place in the Clarets’ Premier League line-up after working his way back to full fitness.  

“It’s nice to get on the grass,” said Bardsley, who played for the first time since the Clarets’ second-round win at Blackburn Rovers.

“I’ve been training really hard to get my fitness to where I want it to be.

“Credit to the manager. He stated when I first came that he knew I had a little bit of a back issue and take my time to get up and running.

“Credit to the staff who have worked hard with me and I am benefiting from the rewards with how I feel.

“We’re here to play football. I didn’t sign here to sit on the bench for two years.

“I will be looking to carry on and hopefully get in the team.”

Phil Bardsley played six Championship games on loan for the Clarets in 2005/06

Bardsley – along with the likes of Ashley Westwood, Charlie Taylor and Kevin Long – all took their chance to press their claims as the Clarets twice hit back in dramatic style through a Chris Wood penalty and 96th-minute Robbie Brady free-kick to force the third-round tie to extra-time and then penalties.

But the Scotland international acknowledges getting a Premier League start won’t be easy at this stage on the back of Burnley’s impressive start to the season.

“That’s the other side of it,” Bardsley told Clarets Player. “The lads’ performances have been sensational from the start of the season.

“We have got some tremendous results and if we can continue with that and take it into Saturday, then it will be a fantastic start.”

Sean Dyche’s side faces Huddersfield Town at Turf Moor on Saturday and Bardsley is backing them to bounce back from the disappointment of losing out to Leeds in a tie the Clarets did enough to win.

He added: “It’s always disappointing to go out on penalties.

“The effort we put in throughout the game I think we deserved to go through.

“But credit to Leeds, they slotted their penalties away nicely and it’s a difficult one to take.

“I think we created enough chances to win the game. The penalty got us back in the game and I think theirs was a soft penalty. Sometimes you get them and sometimes you don’t.

“Unfortunately, he gave it against us but we dug deep and took the game to penalties.

“It’s a tough one to take but we will pick ourselves up. We’ve got a big game on Saturday and we will go again.”

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