Bartley out to stop former Claret Cork
Bartley made his first start of the season on Tuesday night in the 2-1 Carling Cup third-round win over MK Dons, and has his fingers crossed he has done enough to keep the shirt against Championship leaders Southampton at Turf Moor.
If he does, he will be tasked with stopping a player who became a firm favourite at Burnley during a season-and-a-half on loan from Chelsea.
There was great disappointment when the club were priced out of a permanent move for Cork during the summer, but Bartley is aiming to limit his impact on his return.
He said: “It would be nice to play up against Corky. I won’t be speaking to him between now and the game, but I’ll speak to him after.
“Once you cross the white line, there’s no friends in football.
“There was a bit of banter on twitter a couple of weeks ago, but the closer it gets to the game, the less you speak to your opponent.
“We’re playing for two different sides and both want to win.
“If one of us has to come out victorious, hopefully it will be me.
“But Corky’s a good lad and we got on well. He’s a very good player.”
Danny Fox, sold to the Saints last month for £1.8m, is another making his first return to the club, and Bartley added: “Foxy was a big character in the changing room on and off the pitch as well, and he’s a great full-back.
“It was a surprise when he moved, but he’s gone to pastures new and hopefully we can get one over him and Corky.
“But they have a lot of good players, Adam Lallana, who’s also a good friend of mine. He’s from Bournemouth way and he was on loan with us when I first went there.
“They’ve done well so far. When you’re winning games it becomes a habit, and Brighton have been the same. They’ve just taken it in their stride.”
Bartley is hoping for an extended run in the side, after seeing the start to his Burnley career punctuated by red cards at Nottingham Forest the end of last season and Crystal Palace at the start of this.
He said: “The gaffer’s shown faith in me after my suspension. He played me on Tuesday and I got a bit against Peterborough and Middlesbrough, so I feel I’ve done all right, but it’s up to the gaffer to pick the team.
“Whether I’m starting or not, I want the lads to do well, it’s a team game.
“Hopefully I will start, but everyone wants to play.
“I felt the red card against Palace was maybe a bit rash on my part, I went in to win the ball, and if that tackle comes round again, I will go in again to try and win it, that’s just the way I play.
“I mistimed that one, and hopefully next time it will be a different story.”
As Burnley look for their first home win in the league, it seems confidence has been an issue among the players, but Bartley feels the win over MK Dons will help boost that.
He said: “Obviously it’s always brilliant to win games, and I think the boys felt a bit of pressure going 1-0 down, but we turned it around with Kieran Trippier’s free-kick and then Andre’s Amougou overhead kick.
“There was a real buzz in the changing room after the game. But I think the boys are always confident in what we’re trying to do. There’s been a big transformation at the club and it’s difficult for it just to gel overnight, so we’ve been working hard.
“We’ve always been confident in what the gaffer is trying to do, and we’re still confident in that, so hopefully it will come together soon.
“It’s a results business, and we want to win against Southampton, but, barring a draw, only one team can win, and if we carry on giving our all, I’m sure it will come.”