THE appointment of Sean Dyche as the new boss at Burnley has come as a breath of fresh air for ex-Derry City favourite, Danny Lafferty.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
While the left-back took time to settle in at Turf Moor following his £150,000 move from the Brandywell one year ago this month, the 23-year-old defender is now flying high having made in excess of 15 first team performances for the “Clarets.”
And as Lafferty continues to progress his career in the npower Championship, his former club also continues to benefit with a sum understood to be in the region of £10,000 having winged its way back to the Brandywell after the player achieved 10 first team starts.
Indeed, Derry City will continue to feed off the player’s first team record up to a maximum of 60 appearances and should he opt to transfer to another club, the “Candy Stripes” would enjoy the benefit of a 15 per cent sell-on clause.
Delighted to have established himself in the first team panel after what had been a frustrating period of six or seven months, Lafferty is now flying high, brimming with confidence and improving after every game.
“To be totally honest, I never lost heart and I’ve always believed in my own ability but there’s no doubt that the appointment of the new manager has been really beneficial to me,” declared Danny last night.
“I had become a bit frustrated at not getting a regular spot in the first team under former boss, Eddie Howe, especially after I recovered from injury, but once I got fully fit and got my chance, I haven’t looked back,” he added.
“Having played regularly over the past nine or 10 weeks, I now feel very comfortable playing at this level and I believe I have improved with each game. As a result, I’m really enjoying playing football again in what is a very competitive Championship and, hopefully, we can continue our progress up the table.
“So the arrival of Sean Dyche has certainly helped me and an injury to another player saw me get my chance and I think I’ve taken advantage of that. I’m also going well in training so it’s vitally important that I push on and help play my part in the club going forward.”
Superb Victory Over
Having defeated Championship challengers, Crystal Palace 1-0 last Saturday at Turf Moor, Lafferty felt it was a match Burnley simply had to win if they were to continue their challenge for a play-off spot.
“We’re playing in a very tight league with so many teams challenging for play-off places, so it’s very important that a team manages to string together a decent run of results. We’re on a decent run at the moment, so the game against Crystal Palace was a big one for us, especially as the game was to be played at home.
“We got the result we wanted and we seem to be turning the corner at just the right time. For me it was a must win game if we hold aspirations of securing a play-off spot. Palace are a tough side with two excellent wingers playing for them, but we managed to keep them quiet on the flanks and score the game’s only goal.
“Obviously we’re delighted with the result and the win will boost our confidence levels, but we have to remain focused and take each game as it comes.”
Always considered an attack-minded full-back, Lafferty has been given licence to join the attack when such situations permit.
“The manager opted to tighten things up at the back following his arrival, but he likes to see free-flowing football and has asked the defenders to choose their moments when opting to join the attack.
“He’s different from the previous boss in that he believes in the defensive side of the game, refusing to concede goals is the priority. But, at the same time, he wants his team to play, move forward and exert pressure on the opposition.
“Going gung ho and leaving us short at the back is simply never an option, and while a solid defensive strategy is considered the key, he does give us licence to go forward and join in which suits me fine,” continued Danny.
Currently residing in Manchester, Lafferty hasn’t been home for a period of four months having played his part in what has been a hectic Christmas and New Year schedule at Burnley having played so many matches, but he will be back next week to play his part in the I.F.A’s “Football For All” Scheme which be launched in Derry’s Playhouse Theatre this day week, January 22nd.
“Unfortunately, it will just be a flying visit, arriving on Tuesday but returning to Manchester on Wednesday as we have a few big matches coming up. That said, it will be good to get back home to see everyone again.”
Looking back on his year at Burnley, he believes he’s making steady progress as a player and feeling both confidence and comfortable playing at Championship level.
“The year seems to have flown, but I believe I’m making good progress. I feel I’m playing with a fully focused and committed team of players and we believe we have what it takes to finish the season strongly.
“I’ve been very happy with my performances having been given a chance to impress and, fingers crossed, my first team appearances will continue over what will be a very important part of the season for us,” he concluded.