Big Chris remembers derby classic

Chris Iwelumo and Jack Cork celebrate Burnley's third goal of the game.'''PHOTOS BY ANDREW SMITH
Chris Iwelumo and Jack Cork celebrate Burnley's third goal of the game.'''PHOTOS BY ANDREW SMITH

If you thought Burnley’s comeback at Cardiff on Saturday was impressive, it was nothing compared to the last time Preston were at Turf Moor in the league!

The Clarets entertain North End tomorrow, five years and three months since an incredible derby, which Burnley won 4-3, after trailing 3-1 with six minutes left.

Chris Iwelumo netted twice to complete his hat-trick and haul Brian Laws’ side level, before Jay Rodriguez nicked a winner.

And Iwelumo looked back on a memorable afternoon: “I hadn’t trained for two weeks. I went away with Scotland to be assessed and was sent back. I finally trained on the Friday, the day before the game, and Brian Laws gave me the thumbs up.

“I had the kinesio tape on and wasn’t mobile, but I went in early in the morning and had a lot of work with the physio on my hamstring, and managed to come through.

“The first goal was a header from a corner to put us ahead, but we were 3-1 down when Billy Jones was sent off.

It wasn’t quite the perfect hat-trick, but not far off!

Chris Iwelumo

“We started pinning them back, getting on top, and I managed to come up with two goals – a volley after Grezza (Graham Alexander) chipped a ball in, and another header from another Grezza cross.

“It wasn’t quite the perfect hat-trick, but not far off!

“It was made for Jay Rod to come on and become a legend then!

“I’m new to twitter and social media, but Burnley fans often tell me it was one of the best days they have had – it was a special moment.

“Preston were one of my lucky teams, I scored a hat-trick against them for Wolves as well.”

Iwelumo scored 10 goals by New Year’s Day, but was sidelined after the arrival of Eddie Howe, and netted only once more before leaving Burnley: “That’s football, I was going well, scoring goals, but Eddie came in with a different philosophy, and me and Steven Thompson found out sharpish he wasn’t a fan of targetmen.

“You just had to be as professional as you can, and keep your head down, and I got back in the team.

“But in the summer there was always the option to go somewhere else – I just wanted to play football.”

Sean Dyche took him to Watford, and Iwelumo is not surprised by the success he has had at Turf Moor: “The way Sean goes about training, his players are completely prepared for every scenario. He looks at every aspect.

“He’s a top man and a top manager.

“I enjoyed going into training every day, having a bit of chat and banter, and his sessions were put together to improve you individually, and as a team.

“I can’t speak highly enough of him.”

At Wolves, Iwelumo was promoted to the Premier League in 2009 with David Jones, Michael Kightly, Sam Vokes and Stephen Ward, and he added: “There is great experience and quality there.

“I think they can get automatic promotion.”