Burnley FC wideman Ross Wallace excited about reunion

ROSS Wallace didn't get chance to say his goodbyes to his Preston North End teammates in the summer after a whirlwind move to Turf Moor.

But he will get his chance to renew acquaintances with them tomorrow night in the big Lancashire derby.

North End are in town for a game televised live by BBC2 (kick-off 5-15 p.m.), and the talented wideman would like nothing more than to put one over on his old comrades.

He admits he would have loved to have stayed at Deepdale, but financial constraints made the move a neccessity, and he's delighted that Brian Laws pushed hard to get his man.

Wallace said: "I just want to get the game started, after the defeat to Swansea, the lads are itching to get back into it and put things right.

"The move was out of my hands really, with the financial situation at Preston, it kind of forced it through.

"I was happy where I was, but the guys at the top pushed it through, and I'm more than happy to be at Burnley now.

"I'm loving my time here, the fans have been brilliant with me and I'm looking forward to the game."

The switch happened in a blur, and Wallace looked back at his surprise switch: "It came as a shock at the time, but once they had decided to accept the fee and wanted me to move on, there was only one club I was going to come to, and that was Burnley.

"I didn't have to move my family and the club has a realistic chance of getting back up to the Premier League.

"That's where I want to play my football and all the lads, and we'll do everything to get back there."

It puts accusations of player power in the modern game into perspective, with Wallace essentially told he had to go for the good of the club: "I spoke to the manager, and he didn't want me to leave, and I was enjoying my football, but a couple of hours later he basically told me I had to go.

"Financially the club were struggling and it helped them get players in, so it helped them in that respect.

"I'm not one for sitting on contracts, sitting tight, I just want to play football and when I spoke to the manager here, he was excited about getting me in, and playing with the players here."

Wallace was a popular player at Preston though, and, like Graham Alexander and Tyrone Mears - who is suspended tomorrow night - is waiting for the banter to begin: "I never really had chance to say good bye, but most of the lads live near where I live, so I see them every other day!

"I'm not had any stick at the moment, but I'm sure there'll be a few texts flying round."

The former Celtic man knows all about one of the biggest derbies in the world, but he has played in this Lancashure tussle and knows what it means: "It's hard to compete with the Old Firm derby, but this is important to the fans, both want to put one over on the other, so hopefully we can produce the goods.

"It should be an exciting game, we're cerating chances and looking strong defensively."

The game is the start of a hectic period for the Clarets, with seven games in the space of three weeks, and Wallace hopes to see Burnley's squad strength and depth come into play: "This is when the squad kicks in, but we've got a big squad and we have to use it over the next 21 days, with seven games in there."

He was an interested onlooker over the week, as Scotland drew 0-0 in Lithuania, before struggling to a 2-1 win over minnows Leichtenstein at Hampden, and Wallace believes he could have made a difference for Craig Levein's side: "There were ups and downs, but I'm sure the manager will pick up on some good stuff.

"They were probably just lacking that cutting edge, and I feel that's something I could give to the team.

"I feel I should get the chance to do that, but it's not me who picks the squad!

"I'm just concentrating on Burnley.

"Like every Scottish fan, I was watching, and it wasn't the best game in the world, but they got through in the end. We've got some talented players but we seemed to struggle in the final third, creating stuff.

"But we're sitting top of the group at the end of the day.

"Everybody feels they can add something to a team, and I'm the same,

given the opportunity I could do a job.

"Hopefully I can perform for Burnley and with the game on television, maybe people will watch. It's up to me to do the business on the pitch."