SEAN Dyche paid tribute to Jack Cork ahead of the midfielder’s 150th league appearance for the club.
Cork is set to reach the milestone at former club Southampton, 10 years to the week since he made his Burnley debut in the first of two spells with the Clarets.
And Burnley boss Dyche feels the midfielder is a model professional reaping the rewards for his commitment and desire.
“Football is littered with fantastic professionals, who are not always recognised for that professional side of what they do,” explained Dyche.
“Corky is a fanstatic pro, there’s no two ways about it. He does go slightly under the radar, similar to a few others here, including Jeff (Hendrick) and Westy.
“But managers and coaches love those true pro’s, who get out there and you can ask them to play anywhere and they’ll do it without question.
“James Milner is the one that springs to mind, because he does everything he can to be successful and Jack is in that mould.
“He is a very unassuming character, but he has a real inner strength and he will go on any Premier League pitch in the country and say ‘I’m ready to deliver.
“That’s an amazing quality to have, because as those who know him will appreciate he’s quite quiet – almost borderline timid at times – but you put him on a football pitch and he’s a different animal.
“He deserves massive amounts of credit for being that type of character, to go around the country ready and willing to do his bit.”
Cork’s may not be the only milestone on the south coast this weekend, with fellow midfielder Jeff Hendrick one away from his 350th appearance in English football – and within 14 of making it 150 for the Clarets.
Robbie Brady is one appearance short of his 250th in English football, while in-form Clarets striker Jay Rodriguez currently has 48 goals for the club.
And following seven points in nine ahead of the mid-winter player break - including victories over high-flying Leicester City and at Manchester United - Dyche feels his players are in good spirits as they head to the south coast to face a very different Southampton side to the one they beat 3-0 at Turf Moor in the Premier League curtain-raiser back in August.
“Tactically they will be different,” added Dyche. “They were playing method-bound football with three at the back and trying to play out from the keeper through the back three and into midfield, but now, it looks slightly different.
“They had a tough result against Leicester (0-9) and have come out of that with a more simplistic version of a 4-4-2.
“They are running hard and get the ball forward slightly quicker, but they can still play, so it’s certainly not an easy game.
“But they have conceded 11 in their last four games, so like all of us they haven’t got everything sussed.
“So we go there with our own mentality, which has been really strong in the last few games. We’re in good spirit and good physical shape and ready to go.”
Due to unforeseen circumstances, we regret to announce that Burnley FC commentator Phil Bird is unable to be at Southampton this weekend.
With the kind co-operation of BBC Radio Lancashire, Clarets Player subscribers will therefore be linked into live, full match commentary from St Mary’s, with Scott Read and former Clarets defender Ian Cox.
We apologise for this late change and assure you that Phil will be back in situ for next weekend’s Turf Moor game v AFC Bournemouth.
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