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Tuesday 25 July 2017

Burnley will mind the gap with wages - Ward

Burnley players Ashley Westwood, Robbie Brady and Stephen Ward in Tallaght last night.. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Burnley players Ashley Westwood, Robbie Brady and Stephen Ward in Tallaght last night.. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

The big bucks involved in the Premier League will not be the ruin of a small but successful club like Burnley.

That's the view of Ireland international Stephen Ward, who hopes to play a key role again next term for the Clarets and keep them in the Premier League, Ward featuring as a half-time sub for the Clarets in last night's 4-0 win over Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium where Jon Walters and Robbie Brady were on the scoresheet.

Last season was the best campaign of Ward's 10-year spell in England as he was almost an ever-present - he missed just one Premier League game, through suspension - and the side avoided relegation.

On two previous occasions recently, Burnley had lasted just season in the top flight as relegation followed promotion, so staying up last term was a big plus.

For Ward, it's a sign that Sean Dyche's outfit do things the right way and the left-back hopes that the club have learned from mistakes made by others, like his Wolves side which was demoted.

"You keep the team spirit the same," says Ward, looking to explain the Clarets' success last term. "At Wolves we stayed up the first year quite comfortably; the second year, we stayed up with the last kick of the game - Stephen Hunt scored the goal to keep us up.

"The third year, maybe players were coming in and the wage gap between the players that were there had changed. There was a different feel around it.

"I'm not using that as an excuse, we (Wolves) just weren't good enough, but it coincided with Mick (McCarthy) losing his job which was a big factor and, from there, it was a tough year.

"We need to make sure that we don't let that happen here. With the infrastructure we have, we will attract players but as the manager says, we're not the biggest payers in the market, we're lower end of the market and I think he'll attract the right players and do his homework," added Ward, who recently welcomed a third Ireland team-mate, Jonathan Walters, to Turf Moor.

"You can see the lads he's already brought in, they're good lads, and they'll fit in right to the way we play. There is going to be a few more new faces but hopefully the nucleus and the values will stay and that will stand us a good stead.

"If you look at the way Jonathan plays, how vital he has been for Stoke and how we set up and go about our game, he ticks every box for us really: big, strong, scores goals."

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