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Duff Steps Into First-Team Breach

Michael Duff joins senior set-up in Cork as first-team coach Tony Loughlan recuperates

9 July 2018

Michael Duff has joined the Clarets’ senior coaching staff at their southern Ireland training base as a temporary replacement for Tony Loughlan.

First-team coach Loughlan – a key member of Sean Dyche’s backroom staff – is recovering from the effects of hip surgery.

The 48-year-old has been unable to make the trip to Cork, where Burnley are spending a week’s training camp, and so former Clarets defender Duff has stepped up from his role as under-23s’ boss to fill the breach.

Dyche explained: “Tony had a hip operation in the summer. Unfortunately, he had a reaction to it and has had to have some minor surgery to clear up some problems with it.

Tony Loughlan previously worked with Sean Dyche and Ian Woan at Watford

“We were hoping he would be back on the grass and going quite well now but he’s been delayed with that, so Duffo has just stepped up a little bit to support the group while Tony is getting back fit.

“But he’s recovering well, I spoke to him again today, and hopefully it will be sooner rather than later when he’s back in with us and certainly able to get on the grass.”

Duff has spent two years on the Clarets’ coaching staff since hanging up his boots following promotion to the Premier League in 2016.

The former Northern Ireland international, who played almost 400 games for Burnley, spent a season in charge of the under-18s before moving up to the under-23s last season.

And Dyche believes adding to Duff’s coaching experience with the senior set-up will be of great value.

The Burnley boss told Clarets Player HD: “I have spoken many times about my belief in development, not just in the players but with the staff and myself and the continuous learning curves we’re on.

“To bring Duffo in for a while to have a look at it and get used to it, when he reverts back into that under-23 group he will have a better feel and a better understanding of how that connects, and I think that’s important.”

Duff was on the training ground on Monday evening as the Clarets were put through their paces for the first of five days of training in Ireland, with the trip ending with a game against Cork City on Friday night.

And the 40-year-old was joined not only by some familiar faces from his playing days, but also from his development squad, with young defender Jimmy Dunne earning a place in the travelling party.

The 20-year-old Irishmen impressed on loan with Accrington Stanley in the second half of last season, helping the Reds win the League Two title, and is training with the Clarets’ senior squad, along with former under-23 team-mates Dwight McNeil, Aiden O’Neill, Dan Agyei and Conor Mitchell.

Jimmy Dunne was capped by Ireland's under-21 at the end of last season

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