Burnley defender Duff triggers a contract extension

FEELING GOOD: Michael Duff
FEELING GOOD: Michael Duff

CLARETS stalwart Michael Duff could play into a 10th season at Turf Moor after triggering a clause in his contract.

Duff, signed by Steve Cotterill from former club Cheltenham Town fir £30,000 in 2004, automatically qualified for an extra year when making his 25th appearance of the season at home to Hull City last Monday night, and the 35-year-old is also in line for a testimonial.

The Northern Ireland international was closing in on the appearance target at the start of February, only to suffer a calf problem, and in his absence, Kevin Long’s performances gave manager Sean Dyche a nice selection headache.

But on Duff’s return to fitness, he was restored to the starting line-up against the Tigers, and was a stand out performer in the derby draw at Blackburn on Sunday.

Duff, signed as a “calculated risk” by Cotterill, has proved an inspired purchase, going on to play in the Premier League for the club, despite suffering multiple knee ligament damage early in the 2007/08 season, which threatened his career.

But Duff feels as he good as he did in what is normally considered peak years for a footballer: “The injury was a big wake-up call for me, being told that I might not play again.

“I feel as good as I did five, six, seven years ago and I think I look after myself a lot better now than I did, and I score as well if not better on testings - the biochemical side of it - than what I did when I was 28/29.

“I’ve learned again the position I play. Sometimes it allows you to play that little bit longer because you can maybe see something happening because the whole game happens in front of me.”

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