Burnley defender Duff’s derby wish

DERBY EXPERIENCE: Michael Duff
DERBY EXPERIENCE: Michael Duff

DEFENDER Michael Duff has more experience of the East Lancashire derby than anyone in the Burnley squad.

Sunday is likely to be his fifth taste of t’el clasico, and he has yet to finish on the winning side.

That goes without saying when the Clarets have gone 34 years since beating the old enemy in a competitive game.

Duff - in his ninth season with the club - has experienced much in his time at Turf Moor, winning promotion at Wembley to the Premier League, wins over Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, Manchester United.

But he is desperate to end the long wait for derby success: “The atmosphere will be brilliant and hopefully we can get the result we want.

“The players recognise how big Sunday is, we don’t need to be told, we had the first game and probably should have won, but did well to get a point in the end.

“It’ll be nice to go to their place and turn them over.

“It’s probably not a bad game to go into, it’s a derby, up and at ‘em, but we need to realise we can play a bit as well.

“It’s not a normal game, it’s one to look forward to.

“And it’s a great game to go into now. Form goes out of the window in derbies.”

“Everyone’s pulling in the right direction at the minute anyway, but the players know what it means, the supporters obviously know what it means and it’s a game that everyone will be looking forward to.”

Both sides go into the game struggling for form, and Duff - who returned on Monday night after a calf problem - is scratching his head as to why Burnley have gone off the boil: “We were disappointed with how the game went on Monday.

“There’s a strange feeling around the place, I thought we started the Hull game quite well for the first 20-25 minutes, without really penetrating, but I felt we controlled the game.

“I don’t know whether we got a little anxious, as the crowd did really, so it’s a bit of a tough one, but we’re a relatively young squad and it’s a learning process.

“Two years ago we were winning every game at home, but look at the age of that squad and the age of this squad and that might tell you something.

“The whole thing’s flipped round now where we’re struggling a bit at home and the age of the squad’s come down quite a bit as well.

“Three years ago we were in the Premier League and I don’t know if the supporters get carried away or not.

“Expectation isn’t a bad thing, it means people don’t think you’re a bad team, if people thought we were useless there wouldn’t be any expectancy.

“It’s about getting that balance, we’re a relatively small club in this league but that’s not something to hide behind.

“We know we haven’t played well enough, that’s the crux of it.”

But Duff is confident things will pick up: “Everyone’s working towards one goal, and it’s hard at the minute, there’s no getting away from it,” said the 35-year-old.

“People get carried away, we won four out of five and we are going to get promotion, then you don’t win for five or six games and it’s all doom and gloom.

“That’s why we love football, the emotions are so high and so low.

“All we can do is work hard and work ourselves back in credit.”

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