WHEN Michael Duff was ploughing through the non-league pyramid he had one aim: to play one game in the Football League.

Last Saturday at Swansea he made his 500th career league appearance in the Premier League.

He cost Burnley just £30,000 from Cheltenham in 2004. It is fair to say they have got their money’s worth over the last decade... and then some!

It is almost inconceivable when you fast forward to a world where an individual can command an almost £60million fee.

But Duff’s story puts the reality into this fantasy football; a heart-warming so-called ‘rags to riches’ tale.

Forget Wayne Rooney as a role model for aspiring footballers, it is the likes of Duff who should be held up as a beacon to show what can be achieved when you combine ability with hard work, determination and belief.

Anything is possible, which is exactly what the Clarets will be reminding themselves when they step out of the dressing room and onto the pitch against Manchester United and their British record-breaking signing Angel di Maria at Turf Moor the day after tomorrow.

Two days after that is transfer deadline day, and what Sean Dyche would give for just a fraction of the finances available to his counterpart, Louis van Gaal.

How can the Clarets compete when you look at what their Premier League peers are spending.

But pricetags will be pointless on Saturday if Burnley can follow Swansea’s lead.