Jack Cork will reach another Burnley milestone on Saturday and hopes there are more to come on his Turf Moor journey.
Cork is in line to play his 150th league game for the Clarets – 10 years to the month since he made his first appearance for the club during Burnley’s first crack at the Premier League.
That was at Fulham as a loan player from Chelsea in the first of his three spells at Burnley.
His longest started three years ago with a permanent move and the midfielder is happy to call Burnley home.
“I’ve been fortunate to have played at some good clubs, which have given me good memories and I’ve been lucky to have some good experiences at Burnley,” said Cork ahead of his return to face another former club in Southampton.
“I came here when I was 20 on loan for the second half of the season just hoping I’d get some games.
“The club was in the Premier League and it was just a good opportunity.
“I used to play against Burnley and you don’t know what club you’re going to end up playing for or where you’re going to be.
“I signed here for the season after for a full year in the Championship and I thought that would probably be the end of my time at Burnley.
“Luckily enough they brought me back when I was 27-28 and it’s been a good three years I’ve been here.”
Cork has since made 109 Premier League appearances for Sean Dyche’s side – famously not missing a minute of the 2017/18 season and a earning a first England cap as the Clarets finished seventh in the table.
He captained the team for the end-of-season run-in as Dyche’s men brought European football back to Turf Moor and a Europa League run which saw Cork score decisive goals against Aberdeen and Istanbul Basaksehir.
And Cork believes those kind of achievements have further cemented his relationship with the Clarets as he looks to try and help secure a fifth successive season of Premier League football at Turf Moor.
“I think the fans took to me quite well the first time I was here. I always looked out for the club and I feel like it’s always been a part of me because of how successful it was in the first period I was here,” he added.
“It was nice to come back and it’s even better that it’s been a good three years to follow that on with really.
“It would probably have put a bit of a sour taste on it if I’d come back here and it had been unsuccessful first season, but every season I’ve been at Burnley has been great and a successful one in my eyes.
“I’ve made some great memories here and I want to keep going and make some more.”
Cork is set to chalk up his latest milestone back at Southampton where he spent a four-year spell from 2011.
His promotion from the Championship in his first season with the Saints remains a career highlight and will likely earn him another warm reception on his latest return to St Mary’s on Saturday lunchtime.
But having pinned his colours to the Clarets’ mast, the 30-year-old is focused on trying to extend a three-match unbeaten run which has re-energised Burnley’s season and left them with the prospect of sitting in the top half of the table by the end of an extended weekend’s programme if they can complete the double over the Saints.
“I have said before, since I’ve been here it’s a club where as soon as things have gone badly we’ve managed to find something from somewhere to get some results,” said Cork, who has been instrumental in transforming the Clarets’ fortunes by taking seven points from nine against Leicester City, Manchester United and Arsenal.
“It’s a great thing about being part of this club is there’s a result just around the corner. It just happened it was against three big teams and gave us a massive boost and has given us a massive chance of what could have been a bad season turning into a good one.
“We’ve got a good chance, if we get a couple of wins early, to maybe look at it differently.
“But at the moment we’ve got to focus on getting the next win and getting to 40 points and it could be anything, this season.”