Joel Mumbongo made up for lost time as he fired the U23s back into the thick of the play-off race.
And he admitted it was good to be back as his double strike led the Clarets to a 3-0 win at Crewe Alexandra.
It was Burnley’s first game at this level in more than a month and Mumbongo’s first appearance since mid-January due to an injury-enforced spell on the sidelines.
“I’m just happy to be back playing. And, of course, you’re always happy to get two goals as a striker,” said Mumbongo, who struck with clinical close-range finishes in the dying moments of each half at Gresty Road.
“It’s been a while since I’ve played, so the first game was important for me for my confidence and to get two goals helped to boost that.
“We have a lot of games coming up so hopefully I can stay injury-free and have a good run to help the team between now and the end of the season.”
The Clarets face five more games in March – continuing with Thursday’s re-arranged Premier League Cup tie against Blackburn Rovers.
After that it’s back to the bid to finish in the top two in the Professional Development League’s northern group.
That may be a tough ask with many of the Clarets’ more senior players out on loan.
But a youthful line-up proved too strong for Crewe, with a superb Nejai Tucker strike punctuating the two goals scored by Mumbongo to match the double he notched in November’s home win over the Railwaymen.
“You encourage any striker to be in and around that area to put the ball in the back of the net,” said acting U23s’ boss Andy Farrell.
“He gives you everything every time and it’s great for him to get a couple of goals.
“It was a great run by Ali down the left-hand side for the first goal and that’s where you want your striker – in the six-yard box.
“He’s tapping it home and then he got the third one from the same place and the second goal from Nejai was a cracking strike.
“He wouldn’t catch it any better than that and I thought the boys got what they deserved. If it had been 1-0 I think it would have been an injustice to us after dominating the game really.”