Thursday 18 January 2018

Heaton fully committed to Clarets

Tom Heaton has two years remaining on his contract at Burnley
Tom Heaton has two years remaining on his contract at Burnley

Tom Heaton wants to see out his contract at Burnley and help the Clarets bounce straight back into the Barclays Premier League.

Burnley were relegated to the Sky Bet Championship last weekend despite recording a 1-0 win over rivals Hull.

The Clarets play their final home game of a roller coaster season on Saturday when they welcome Stoke to Turf Moor.

Although Burnley have conceded 53 goals this season, Heaton has been one of their best performers and that has not gone unnoticed by other clubs, it seems.

Newcastle and Everton - among others - have been linked with a move for the former Manchester United goalkeeper, but he does not seem ready to jump ship any time soon.

"It's been fantastic in the Premier League but I've had a fantastic time at Burnley this season and last," Heaton said.

"I've got two years left here and I'm thoroughly enjoying it, so the focus is 100 per cent on Burnley."

Sean Dyche has only spent around £8million this season so most of the players that helped Burnley get promoted last year remain at the club.

Heaton believes the unity and spirit within the squad will help them in their bid to return to the big time at the first opportunity.

"The important thing is we bounce back quickly with the appetite and motivation to get back to the Premier League," the 29-year-old said.

"There's more than enough ability in that squad to get straight back up there and compete again next year.

"That's certainly my appetite and that of individuals. We can start building momentum now in the next two games and get ready for the new season.

"Probably at other teams it's felt a bit more parted but certainly this dressing room isn't like that. There's still that togetherness."

Burnley have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the visit of Stoke.

Forward Sam Vokes is expected to return from the thigh injury that has kept him out for the last three matches.

Midfielder Dean Marney, who signed a 12-month contract extension on Friday, remains sidelined with a long-term knee injury and defender Kevin Long is unavailable for the same reason.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes has reiterated his desire to keep goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and denied reports of a contract dispute.

The Bosnia-Herzegovina international will enter the final year of his current deal this summer and there has been much speculation about his future.

Hughes has often stated that club and player plan to discuss the situation at the end of the season, but that has not prevented rumours that talks have stalled over wage demands.

Begovic has also been linked with Manchester United and Liverpool recently, with stories fuelled by the player's lack of participation in the Potters' last two games.

Hughes says he has been fulfilling a pledge to allow England Under-21 international Jack Butland some game time late in the campaign, but he admits Begovic asked not to be on the bench.

The 27-year-old instead took the opportunity to undergo what Hughes described as a "slight procedure", but he could be back in action at Burnley.

Hughes said: "My view on it hasn't changed. I want Asmir to stay here. We can offer him a good option. We feel we are progressing and we want him to be part of that.

"We are conscious that he is in the last year of his contract, so we are wary of that.

"Financial demands will always be part of the discussion, but I don't think that would be something that would affect anything we would be looking to do with him.

"We haven't had those talks yet but once we do at the end of the season then hopefully we can get a quick and happy resolution.

"We want Asmir to keep progressing as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League here. I am very hopeful of being able to agree something with him and his representatives."

Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross is likely to miss out with a knee injury but f ellow defender Marc Wilson is available again after suspension.

Press Association

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