Nick Pope is ready and waiting after successfully returning to help the Clarets advance in the FA Cup.
Pope ended an absence of more than five months from first-team duty following the dislocated shoulder he suffered in the Clarets’ opening Europa League tie at Aberdeen in July.
And while a Premier League comeback may have to wait – club captain Tom Heaton having reclaimed the starting spot from fellow England international Joe Hart – Pope is delighted to be back in the frame.
“We’ve got four other first-team goallies and myself, so there’s high quality there,” said Pope, who kept a clean sheet as Burnley beat Barnsley 1-0 in round three.
“It’s great to be involved with every day. We push each other and work each other hard and it just goes to show what strength in depth there is.
“To be involved with the first team, that’s what my goal was from the start of the injury, so hopefully I can look forward and it’s onwards and upwards.”
Pope was never overly stretched against the League One Tykes but last season’s Player of the Year felt all the right signs as he underlined his well-being.
“It was great to be back out there,” added the keeper, who win a first England cap last June.
“Obviously, a big goal of mine since being injured is to get back in the team and get back playing games, so it was great to be out there and be part of a 1-0 win.
“I feel great. If I didn’t feel great and wasn’t ready I wouldn’t be back at all.
“I think you have to be ready to come back and play at the level you want to play at, so it’s taken its time, but I wanted to come back ready and I feel ready now and it was great to be out there.”
Pope was joined the Clarets’ starting line-up by Steven Defour and Stephen Ward as they also returned from injury absences.
And a prolonged run in the Cup could prove beneficial to those players looking for game-time around the Premier League programme.
“The FA Cup is still a massive competition. It was something I grew up watching a lot,” Pope told Clarets Player HD ahead of Monday night’s fourth-round draw.
“Wembley is there at the end and the big games in football are where you want to be, so if you go on a nice cup run I think it’s great for everyone involved.”