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It’s over eleven years since Phil Bardsley, then of Manchester United, saw his Turf Moor loan cut short because of an injury sustained at Hull but he’s back with the Clarets on a permanent basis after a long Premier League career with Sunderland and Stoke City.

Then aged 20, he made a Burnley debut in a 1-0 defeat at Stoke in March 2006 along with Andy Gray who had also signed on loan having come in from Sunderland. Bardsley signed a deal until the end of the season and the game at Stoke was the only defeat we suffered in the six games he played. That sixth game was at Hull where he suffered a hamstring injury that ruled him out for the rest of the season and although manager Steve Cotterill did try to get him back to Turf Moor it has been a long wait to get him, and with four changes of manager.

1718 burnley phil bardsley 03 500x500Bardsley enjoyed further loans at Rangers, Aston Villa and Sheffield United before making a permanent move to Sunderland in January 2008 for a fee of around £2 million. In six and a half years at the Stadium of Light he made over 170 league appearances. Having been signed by one former Manchester United player in Roy Keane, he then signed for Mark Hughes at Stoke three summers ago and has added to his Premier League experience with another fifty plus appearances.

Now a very experienced player of over 300 games, he has become our fourth summer signing and, like Jon Walters, his former Stoke team mate, and Jack Cork, he adds great experience at the top level to our squad.

After signing a two year contract this afternoon, he referred to his time at Burnley on loan: “I’ve had different spells and different clubs since then and I’m delighted to be back,” he said. “It’s a club that’s going in the right direction with a fantastic manager and a great group of players which I’m looking forward to being part of.

“It’s a well knitted group which did fantastically well last year and hopefully I can bring something to the squad. There’s still fire in the belly to achieve things in football and what a great chance. Coming back here and playing again at Turf Moor is going to be a great challenge and one I’m looking forward to.

“All the fundamentals are here, with the new training ground, the manager looking to kick on with the club and the players he’s brought in are very good players. I played with Jonny Walters and the brief chat I had with him, he couldn’t speak highly enough of the place. I didn’t need much convincing but it’s always nice to get reassurances from people like Jon. He says he’s loving it and the same as me, I just can’t wait to get going.”

Since leaving Burnley, Bardsley has also won 13 international caps for Scotland; although from Salford he qualified because of his Glasgow born dad. It’s that sort of experience that persuaded Sean Dyche to sign him.

“Phil brings experience,” he said. “He knows the division and his way around it and he knows there’s a real competitive element to the squad and he’ll have to earn the right to play. We like players who have a demand about themselves and I think he’s certainly got that.

“He will know he will have to fit into the nature of the group, but there’s a manliness about him and Jon Walters. They have been around the block a bit and know what the Premier League offers and some of the demands of it. That’s really important. We want competition and slowly but surely we keep adding to the group.”

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