Michael Duff has sung the praises of Tom Heaton as the club captain completed his rehabilitation in Monday’s U23 game against QPR.
Heaton could return to the first team squad at West Bromwich Albion this weekend just days after completing an U23 double-header at Charlton last week and in Monday’s 3-1 Professional Development League win over Rangers at Turf Moor.
And Duff, who heads up the U23s, believes Heaton’s influence will rub off on his young charges.
“The last week tells you a lot about Tom,” said Duff. “He’s a constant professional in everything he does.
“We travelled six and a half hours on the bus down to Charlton on a Sunday not knowing whether the game was going to be played or not because of the weather.
“Being the club captain as well, he sets the example for everyone else, whether it’s with the U23s, the first team, or England. He’s the same all the time and has been great for the group in these last two games.”
Heaton was between the sticks as Burnley’s U23s bounced back to winning ways in an overall performance that satisfied Duff.
He added: “In the first half, we could have been out of sight again. The football that we played – the organisation, the pressing – it looked like a good, solid performance.
“The goal we conceded is a bit of a disappointing one as there was probably a foul in the build up to it.
Assessing the status of his squad, Duff said, “We had two or three young lads come on, so it changed the feel of the game a little.
“QPR tried to play around us, but with the shape that we had, we were able to counter and looked a real threat.
“It wasn’t just countering for the sake of countering; there was a real purpose at the end of it.
“We’ve definitely progressed. Certain players are looking very good at the minute.”
Burnley U23s travel to Sheffield United U23s for their next fixture in the Professional Development League on Friday.