IRISH midfielder Chris McCann is delighted to be back in action with English Premier League side Burnley after almost five months on the sidelines due to injury -- but his joy at making a comeback was diluted by an early FA Cup exit for the Clarets.
This season started off well for Dubliner McCann as he was ever-present in the Burnley side under former boss Owen Coyle, but he suffered a serious knee injury in a league game against Sunderland in September and he had been out ever since.
However, he was able to take a place in the starting line-up for Saturday's FA Cup clash with Reading -- albeit in a left-back position -- and the former Home Farm man is looking forward to the rest of the season, though sadly not with an FA Cup run as Burnley went down 1-0 to the Royals.
"I'm delighted to be back and get 90 minutes under my belt to try to get into the fold," said McCann.
"Obviously with the new gaffer coming I want to try to get into his plans. It was good to get the run-out but disappointing with the overall result. I thought we could have held on for the last couple of minutes and taken it to a replay."
McCann, 22, made his debut for the Clarets back in August 2005 and has been a central figure in midfield since, but squad problems -- Christian Kalvenes was allowed to miss the Reading game as his wife was giving birth -- forced boss Brian Laws to play him at left-back.
"I got told on Friday night by the gaffer that I was playing left-back. I've played there once or twice before and I didn't really mind. As long as you're in the team you've got to do a job," added McCann.
"I just slotted in there and thought I did all right. I just don't think we got started in the first half. In the second half we came out a lot better, a lot sharper and got on the front foot a little bit. But it's the little lapses in concentration which are killing us at the minute. But we'll watch the video and pick out where we're going wrong, and hopefully it will mean we can get an away victory soon.
"You just want to get a bit of momentum going, whether it's the FA Cup or the league. An away win's an away win. It does wonders for confidence and it's just a pity we couldn't get that," added McCann, as he hopes to keep his place in the side for their next game, a grudge match against Bolton, where Coyle moved to last month while in charge at Turf Moor.
Manager Laws was delighted with McCann's comeback. "That performance against Reading tells you all about the player, and it epitomises him and the squad. They are determined to give you everything and Chris did just that," Laws said.
"One minute he was playing midfield and, because of a thunderbolt through Stephen's injury, we had to slip him into left-back.
"I knew he could do that because he is so versatile, and what a performance from him against a fine player in McAnuff, who he snuffed out well," added Laws.