SO rapid has James Tarkowski's progress been over the last eight months that it feels remarkable to consider his first Premier League start only arrived in this fixture last season.

Tarkowski has caught the eye this season, winning plaudits for a string of fine performances and earning a new four-and-a-half year deal with Burnley in the process.

The 25-year-old's form saw him linked with Chelsea and Arsenal before penning that new contract at Turf Moor and he is in contention for an international call-up in March, whether that be for England or Poland.

But that trip to Selhurst Park on April 29 last year saw him make his long-awaited first start at this level, with Ben Mee sidelined through injury, and Tarkowski admits he was nervous in the early stages.

"I think I had a bit of a sticky start to be honest. I lost a couple of headers and I remember Heats (Tom Heaton) just telling me to calm down," the former Brentford defender remembered.

"I don't get nervous anymore but I think when it's your first start for a club and in that situation I think I was maybe a bit nervous. I grew in to the game and I thought that it was quite a good performance from myself in the end.

"I ended up getting hit with a lighter (in the celebrations for Ashley Barnes' goal) and it was quite a frantic 15/20 minutes to the game but overall I was pleased."

While the trip to south London was significant to Tarkowski as he marked a personal milestone it was a turning point for the Clarets as well as they finally landed their first away win of 2016/17 at the 18th attempt.

The 2-0 win secured through Barnes' early strike and Andre Gray's late goal also all but secured Burnley's Premier League status and the return trip this weekend will stir good memories.

"The fans had waited a while for those points on the board, that big win away from home, and the timing was perfect. It was a great day out," Tarkowski said.

"I've been a bit more settled. Obviously getting those games under your belt and having that experience helps. You just feel a bit more comfortable when you're out there."

Tarkowski hadn't missed a Premier League game since that debut at Palace until he was handed a three-match ban just before Christmas for violent conduct after elbowing Brighton striker Glenn Murray in an off-the-ball incident.

The Manchester-born defender also broke his hand in that game and used the ban to undergo surgery on the incident, and he admits that the clash with Murray was 'silly'.

"It's fine. I've just got a cast to play in to protect it from any kind of whack or anything like that. It's recovering really well," Tarkowski said of his hand injury.

"In terms of playing it's fine, there aren't any restrictions on me.

"It was frustrating but it probably worked out quite well because it did need surgery. I would've had to try and play without having the surgery which wouldn't have been ideal so the ban kind of forced me to get the surgery done.

"I've done what I've done so if it's seen (you get banned), people have done it since and been banned. The same weekend there were a few things when people got booked for bad challenges and were able to play the next weekend so it's the (lack of) consistency.

"If you do something like I did, which was silly, then you expect to get banned."