MICHAEL Kightly is set to stay at Burnley, after promotion triggered a clause in his loan deal from Stoke City.
The Clarets are understood to have made an agreement with the Premier League side that they would sign the winger permanently in the event of a top flight return, after he joined on a season-long loan in September.
Kightly has so far made 37 appearances for Burnley, including 31 starts, since being reunited with Sean Dyche, who he first worked with at Watford.
The 28-year-old has scored six goals, the most significant being the winner at Blackpool to fire the Clarets closer to promotion, going on to add the second in the 2-0 win over Wigan Athletic which confirmed the second automatic slot on Easter Monday.
And it seems set to have paved the way for Burnley to sign Kightly full-time, with a deal in place for the promoted Clarets to buy him out of the remaining year of his Stoke contract.
Kightly’s transfer to the Britannia from Wolves two years ago is reported to have cost £3million including add-ons. It is not yet known how much his latest move would cost Burnley, who are also believed to be weighing up a bid for Watford’s Troy Deeney.
The 25-year-old is top scorer at Vicarage Road this season with 23, and is well known to Dyche having signed for the Hornets in 2010 while the Burnley boss was on the coaching staff.
Until he is able to make advancements in his recruitment and scouting structure it is likely the Clarets boss will maintain a preference for tried and trusted players in seeking to enhance his squad this summer in preparation for the Premier League.
Meanwhile, Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy has backed Kightly to shine in the Premier League with Burnley.
“He’s a good player Kights. He’s got a je ne sais quoi,” said McCarthy, who signed Kightly in his first season as Wolves boss in 2006/07.
“He had so many injuries. If he hadn’t have been injured like he was at Wolves he’d have been a top player in a top team throughout.
“I’m delighted for him that he’s back playing at that level because he’s a great kid.”