Jones ready to end Burnley wait
DAVID Jones is planning to go all out to end Burnley’s barren run against Blackburn, just six months after helping to prolong it.
The midfielder was on loan with rivals Rovers for the last two months of last season and played his part in preventing a first Burnley derby win in 10 attempts since the late 1970s.
But after joining the Clarets camp on a free transfer from Wigan Athletic in the summer, he believes his new club is capable of boasting bragging rights in the 100th competitive East Lancashire clash.
“I didn’t see the first game at Turf Moor but obviously I played in the second game,” he said.
“I was chatting to my dad about that game (before signing) and we were just impressed with how Burnley played in that game, especially in the first half.
“I know they had a man sent off and that changed the game a bit, but there was a lot of good quality and I was impressed with how they played.
“This year, I think, with a bit more belief to cross the finish line and win, I think we’ve definitely got a good chance.”
Jones made 12 appearances for Blackburn last season, while on loan from Wigan – including the East Lancashire showdown at Ewood Park which, like the Turf Moor meeting, ended 1-1 through David Dunn’s contentious late equaliser after the Clarets had been reduced to 10 men with Ben Mee’s sending off.
Burnley’s bitter rivals have been dealt a bitter blow with Dunn ruled out of his favourite fixture following a minor knee operation this week.
And Jones is in no doubt how big a loss that will be to Blackburn.
“He’s quite a vocal character and you know how much the club means to him,” said the 28-year-old of his former team-mate.
“He is an influential guy around the dressing room, and he does inspire team-mates, so he’s someone who’s very important for them, especially in games like this because he’s lived here and knows what it means to both sets of fans.
“He passes that on to the players and I’m sure they’ll be up for it as we will be as well.
“They have good players all over the pitch and it is about who performs better on the day. We have the capability to cause them problems as well.”
The Clarets have a score to settle after Dunn equalised at the death, despite clearly straying offside.
“I think he was offside. I’m pretty sure he was!” said Jones, who although at Ewood Park for only a short period last season still feels like he has the inside track on the opposition.
“In the game at Ewood there was tension – you don’t want to be part of the team that ends the run, so I’m sure they will be quite edgy about it.
“It’s an important game, but we need to put the emotion aside.
“I know it’s difficult with the fans, and the occasion, but we have to focus, get three points and carry on our good start to the season.”
Jones was linked with a full-time return to Rovers this summer but was instead persuaded to the opposite end of the M65 and a reunion with former Manchester United youth team-mate and best pal Tom Heaton.
And he says on Saturday it will be clear where his priorities lie.
“Last season it was a loan move just to get me games, which I did,” he said.
“I played 12 games but that’s in the past now. I wasn’t there that long, so it wasn’t as if I had a big history there, I feel like I belong here now and I’m looking forward.
“I’ve had a good reception from the Burnley fans, the ones I’ve chatted to, and it seems a really good club and a team that likes to play good football, which obviously I like to do.
“I’m excited to try to build a good relationship with the fans as well.”
Jones added: “I’m just focused on the game, and hopefully getting a good result.
“It’s about time Burnley won the derby, we’ll definitely be up for it, but we have to play with calm heads and take the emotion out of it – business as usual.
“It’s vitally important, as the manager keeps telling us, to keep the nuts and bolts together.
“That’s what we’ve been trying to build in pre-season, and hopefully individual performances can take us on to another level.
“But you need that team spirit and work ethic, and I think we’ve shown that in the first seven games.
“It’s still very early days, but we’re doing well, building a good, solid team. We’ve still got some improvements to make, but it’s been a good start.
“We’ve put in some good team performances.
“I don’t think we’ve hit the heights, or played the type of football we’re capable of playing yet, but we’ve had some good results and looked solid.
“The foundations are there for us to perform from.”
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