STEPHEN Ward has completed his move away from Wolves and earned another shot at the Premier League after he agreed a three-year deal with Burnley, writes AIDAN FITZMAURICE.
The Ireland international will not be able to make his debut in Monday's clash with Chelsea as his paperwork will not be cleared in time but he is relieved to have ended a difficult time at Wolves by securing his exit.
The 28-year-old knew he was on his way out of Wolves as the Molineux club had made it clear that Ward was not in their plans for the new season, and a return to Brighton - where Ward had a successful season on loan last term - was on the cards.
Brighton and Wolves had agreed a fee in the region of £300,000 for the former Bohemians man. But Premier League newcomers Burnley, still keen to strengthen their squad following promotion from the Championship, were alerted to Ward's availability and made a late bid for the player.
"I'm absolutely thrilled, I've had eight years at Wolves now and I was on loan at Brighton last year but to start a new chapter in my career is great," Ward said. "I don't think I could have picked a better place than Turf Moor and obviously to come to the Premier League is a massive pull as well.
"Once you get a taste of it you want to play as much Premier League football as you can. Burnley have done superbly well to get promoted and hopefully I can play some part in us having a successful year. It's a hungry squad that wants to stay in the Premier League for many years to come."
Brighton boss Sami Hyypia was not too upset at losing out on the signing of Ward.
"It's disappointing but that can happen in football. Worse things have happened and if Stephen Ward wants to play in the Premier League and doesn't want to come here it's okay," said Hyypia.
Ward had been axed from the Wolves squad at the end of the 2012/13 season,and boss Kenny Jackett had spoken of how players like Ward, Kevin Doyle and Jamie O'Hara were "carrying baggage" from successive relegations with the club and was keen to move them on.