Kev hopes to put bad luck to bed

Blackpool's Nathan Delfouneso and Kevin Long battle for the ball in the air during the Pre-Season friendly at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday August 2, 2014. See PA story SOCCER Blackpool. Photo credit should read: Barry Coombs/PA Wire
Blackpool's Nathan Delfouneso and Kevin Long battle for the ball in the air during the Pre-Season friendly at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday August 2, 2014. See PA story SOCCER Blackpool. Photo credit should read: Barry Coombs/PA Wire

Every player dreams of making an impact in the Premier League.

But Clarets defender Kevin Long’s chance lasted just 20 minutes.

Long suffered cruciate knee ligament damage 20 minutes after making his top-flight bow at Newcastle United on New Year’s Day.

But after an arduous road back to fitness, the Irishman is aiming to help Sean Dyche’s side return to the big time.

Long – after playing 81 minutes in Monday night’s U21 Premier League Cup win over Wigan at Turf Moor – was asked if he felt close to a return to the first team squad: “Maybe one or two more games just to make sure.

“But judging by Monday night and how I felt fitness wise, I felt really good. It’s up to the gaffer now really.

“I’m feeling good. I wanted to play the whole 90 minutes but my tendon was just feeling a little bit sore. It came on all of a sudden so I came off as a precaution. But fitness wise it’s the best I’ve felt in a long time so I’m really pleased with that.”

Long was the second of five cruciate victims at the club over an 18-month period, and he has undergone his rehabilitation with Dean Marney, who suffered a similar injury a month later: “It’s been a tough few months. Me and Deano have been working in the gym together so it’s been good to have a partner, but it’s been a tough few months and I’m just seeing the benefits now that I’m back playing.

“He’s a good partner to have in the gym – the two of us have been pushing each other and working hard.

“He’s probably fitter than me in general, so when we’re doing running he’s always ahead of me so that just pushes me that bit harder, so that’s good in a way.

“He’s pretty much a machine. It’s good for him to be training with me and working on coming back from injury because it pushes me that bit harder.”

And the 25-year-old would like nothing more than another shot at the top flight with Burnley, after his cruel luck at St James’ Park: “It couldn’t have been a worse debut. But these things happen and it’s happened to a lot of people.

“It’s when you get that phonecall it just sinks in.

“The doc gave me a call and gave me the bad news and to be fair I probably sulked for about an hour, but then I just told myself to get on with it.

“I just want to get that chance to play at Burnley again and just get back out there and be involved with the first team again.

“That’s my aim now.”