DEFENDER Danny Lafferty has had an up and down career so far at Burnley, but finally things are back on track.
Following his move from home town club Derry City, he was expected by many to become a regular with the Lancashire based out-fit, however through no fault of his own he didn’t make much appearances under the then boss Eddie Howe.
With the departure of Eddie Howe from Championship club Burnley to League One’s Bournemouth, Lafferty, who returns home on Wednesday to launch the IFA ‘Football For All’ scheme in the Playhouse Theatre, was granted a fresh start with new manager Sean Dyche.
“Under Eddie Howe, I didn’t feature much for whatever reason but now under Sean Dyche I’m enjoying my football again because I’m playing regularly,” stated Lafferty.
“It wasn’t great but then with Dyche coming in its been a lot more positive. He has come in and changed things and he has also shown faith in me by playing me in the last nine or so games.”
With Burnley conceding too many but offering up attractive and entertaining football many expected Dyche to change the club completely but that wasn’t the case.
“He hasn’t made many changes to the club itself, the only changes he has made have been on a performance level,” he added.
In their previous matches the defence has improved and their problem with conceding too many goals has been fixed something which Lafferty believes is down to Dyche who noticed that they were ‘soft’.
“Dyche noticed we conceded too many goals and that we played too open and too expansive in a league where results are hard to come by. He tightened us up and done a lot of work with the back four.
“He improved our team shape and our game management and now because of that we are a harder team to beat.”
The Turf Moor men’s results in past few weeks have been indifferent picking up wins away to Sheffield Wednesday then getting knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round by Barnsley, but they bounced back with an impressive 1-0 win over title contenders Crystal Palace and on Saturday they had an even better result, winning 2-0 at Millwall, but any of their recent defeats the most they’ve been beaten by has been two goals which again Lafferty contributes to Dyche’s appointment.
“He brought a new culture to the club where we are a hard team to beat and we work our socks off. He has also brought in and trained us on the balance between knowing when to play and when not to and at the same time using our quality on the ball.”
With the Clarets sitting seventh in the Championship and four points off the play-off positions, he harbours ambitions for a top six spot.
“I don’t see why we can’t challenge for the play-off’s,” he admitted.
“The Championship is well known for its toughness in keeping consistent, so hopefully we can put a string of results together at the right time of the season and climb the table.
“Although there are eight or nine teams around us with the same thoughts and ambitions, I see the play-off’s as a possibility.”
With former Candy Stripes team-mate Stephen McLaughlin getting his dream move to fellow Championship side Nottingham Forest, the two ex-Derry City men could end up playing against each other something which Lafferty eagerly anticipates.
“It’s great to see Stephen in a Forest jersey. Something which is thoroughly deserved and I’m over the moon for him.
“He had a great season at Derry last year and it’s great for him and Derry City with three players making moves to England which will benefit Derry financially.
“I’d love to come up against Stephen and I’d enjoy the competition,” joked the ex-Celtic starlet.