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Monday 18 December 2017

Bentaleb: Spurs players not divers

burnley

STEPHEN Ward says he's focused on having a strong finish to the season in Burnley's fight for survival after making his return from injury, writes Aidan Fitzmaurice.

The ex-Bohemians man had been out for almost three months with an ankle injury but he was back in the Clarets' squad for their draw away to Chelsea last weekend and Ward insists that his injury problems are behind him.

"It's been a long couple of months but it's good to be back in with the boys and it's a nice game to come back into, it's a great result for us," says Ward, hoping that Sean Dyche's side can build on that draw with Chelsea.

"For me I'm glad to be back and fit and I'm raring to go, so if I'm called on it's another body that is probably needed.

"We've got a lot of experienced lads who've been involved in battles at the bottom of the Premier League so hopefully we can bring something to the table," added Ward, who recovered from his injury ahead of schedule.

"I've done quite well getting back as quick as I have," the 29-year-old said.

"The staff have been great, the physios especially, I had a really good programme and it was managed really well, so I'm delighted to be back. Hopefully I can have some part to play and be around for the rest of the season.

"The lads have been great, it shows on Saturday how well they've done to recover and come here and get a point is unbelievable."

Ward's return to the first-team squad with the Clarets was good news for Ireland boss Martin O'Neill ahead of the Poland tie next month. Also last weekend, Marc Wilson and Jon Walters featured for Stoke after spells on the sideline while Shane Long rejoined the Southampton squad.

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