Burnley midfielder Bartley is a marked man!

MARKED MAN: Marvin Bartley
MARKED MAN: Marvin Bartley

CLARETS midfielder Marvin Bartley admits he’s rubbed several opposing players up the wrong way this season and consequently felt their wrath.

Ahead of tomorrow’s Championship clash with Brighton at Turf Moor the hard-hitting midfield maestro reminisced about December’s fixture at the Amex Stadium where Romain Vincelot and Ashley Barnes were dismissed for the Seagulls within 12 minutes.

Bartley was the victim of the Frenchman’s bad temper before Barnes saw red from referee Craig Pawson for violent conduct following a challenge on Clarets skipper Chris McCann.

“I think I’ve still got a few scars to be fair but, obviously, I’m alright now,” joked Bartley. “It was an interesting game and it’s the first time I’ve been involved in something like that. To their credit though they were still passing the ball about with nine men and sometimes we were chasing shadows.

“You wondered how they were doing it, but fair play to them they continued to try and play the right way. But in the end we got the result and we’ll be looking to do that again.”

Bartley’s eagerness and tenacity stemmed from his non-league days with Burnham, Hayes, Didcot Town and Hampton and Richmond Borough and those characteristics have been magnified since his arrival from Bournemouth last January. And his dismissals against Forest and Crystal Palace, particularly the former, emphasise his determined nature.

“I played in one in non-league as well which was a bit naughty,” he said. “It all got a bit heated. Apart from that I think the game at Brighton was the worst professional game I’ve played in. Not many people like me in this league. It seems to happen week-in week-out with people trying to fight me so I just get used to it. I’m a nice lad so I’m not sure what it is.

“Maybe it’s personal and people just don’t like me; vendettas maybe. I always seem to have disagreements but after the game you normally shake hands and it’s all forgotten. I get in players’ faces and maybe they don’t like it but after you shake hands and move on to the next game.”

Gus Poyet’s side felt an air of injustice following the 1-0 defeat before Christmas, courtesy of Kieran Trippier’s strike from distance, but Bartley believes that both sendings off were deserved.

“They might have felt an injustice but both red cards were warranted so it was down to their players and what they’d done,” he stated. “I think any referee would have sent them off. They’ll need to keep their temper when they play us.

“I don’t think any of them were happy on that day, I think we must have caught them on a bad day. But Gus is a passionate man and he showed that and maybe a few of his players were slightly over passionate. But what’s important is us and we want to get that result.”

Today’s fixture will also see the return of striker Sam Vokes to Turf Moor. The 22-year-old marksman scored twice for the Clarets, in victories over Ipswich Town and West Ham, during a two-month loan spell from Wolves and has since been on the scoresheet three times for the Seagulls. Bartley is still close to Vokes from their time together at Bournemouth but he insists that there won’t be any friendly gestures on the pitch come kick-off.

“I’ve known him for a long time but there’ll be no friends on the pitch,” Bartley said. “He knows that. If there’s a tackle to be won I’ll put my foot in whether it’s him or anybody else. My only mates are my team-mates and I view anybody else on the pitch in the same way whether I’ve known them 15 years or 10 minutes, it doesn’t make a difference.

“Everyone got on well with him and he did make a big difference to the team at times. He came on against West Ham and got that goal for us but you move on; he’s not here anymore and he’s no longer a Burnley player.”