Clarets midfielder David Jones will be forever thankful to Manchester United for providing the springboard for his playing career.
The former trainee at Old Trafford, who made three Carling Cup appearances as well as a solitary FA Cup outing for the club, will return to his old stomping ground on Wednesday evening alongside one-time Red Devils Tom Heaton and Michael Keane.
“I wouldn’t single one person out, there was plenty of them really, it’s a great club for a young player to go through and learn, it was definitely the best decision for me to go there and learn the game,” he said. “I experienced many good coaches there who have helped me along the way.
“I only speak to them when we cross paths in a playing sense. There’s been a lot of changes, but they’re a club that has continuity, they don’t do massive change, a lot of physio staff and backroom have remained the same, I know the first team coaches and managers have changed, but the core of the club remains the same.”
The last time the 30-year-old featured at the Theatre of Dreams he found himself on the end of a hammering as Paul Scholes, Javier Hernandez, Alexander Buttner and Nick Powell subjected Wigan to a 4-0 loss in September 2012. But Jones feels more confident about his chances with the Clarets.
“We’re not expected to get anything, we can go there with total freedom, we’re confident in our own ability to get something and if we do our jobs really well and put in a good performance we’re definitely a match to get something there,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to it. You want to play in the big stadiums and staying in this league is how you do that. We want to go there and get something, that’s for sure.
“You always want to play against good players and good teams. I spent a lot of my early days there, it will be nice to see a few people but we want to go there and get something, that’s the most important thing. We’re going to have step up to the plate and do it, we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Dean Marney hobbled off with a knee injury at the weekend, replaced at the interval by Michael Kightly in the 2-2 draw against West Brom. Jones is hopeful that his partner in crime recovers in time for the fixture against the 13-time Premier League champions, but admits the squad has adequate cover should the midfielder fail to pull through.
“He’s been a key player for us and hopefully we can get him back fit as quickly as possible,” Jones said. “We’ve got a strong squad in terms of competition for places, but if you get that continuity you get that familiarisation with playing with the same players you can get into a good rhythm and good partnerships, so it’s important, but we’ve got enough in our squad to replace anybody when needed.”