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1718 burnley jack cork 01 1000x500Jack Cork is back at Burnley, some six years since his second loan came to an end following the 2010/11 season, with the Clarets having today confirmed his signing from Swansea City on a four year deal.

Cork first came to Burnley as a 20-year-old in January 2010. He was at his first club Chelsea at the time although his only first team football had come in previous loans at Bournemouth, Scunthorpe, Southampton, Watford and Coventry. He’d played previously on the Turf for both Scunthorpe and Southampton, the second of them when he played in the centre of defence as Burnley went 3-0 up against the Saints in the first eleven minutes.

His Burnley debut came on a dreadful night for us at Fulham; we lost the game 3-0, and it could have been far worse, with Cork replacing Wade Elliott early in the second half. It was the first of his eleven Premier League appearances for Burnley, the last of them bringing his first goal for the club as we ended the season with a 4-2 win against Spurs.

Manager Brian Laws was keen to have him back at Burnley and he got his wish just a couple of games in with Cork returning for the entire 2010/11 season. He was very much a regular too, both under Laws and subsequently when Eddie Howe came in as manager. Of 44 games still remaining when he signed, he played in 40 of them with all but four being starts. He also scored three goals. The first was an equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Doncaster but the other two were winners in 2-1 victories against Derby at home and Preston at Deepdale, with both coming late in the games too.

During the summer of 2011 there was a lot of speculation that he might leave Chelsea on a permanent basis. Burnley supporters hoped for a return but the club didn’t seem to be too keen to bring him back at the time. He did leave Chelsea and moved to Southampton where he went into a team that was about to embark on a promotion season to the Premier League.

And since the summer of 2012, he’s been a Premier League player. Although never a regular in the Southampton team, he did start over 50 Premier League games for them but he was given an ultimatum by manager Ronald Koeman. He was out of contract in the summer of 2015 and was told that he’d be sold in January unless he agreed to a new deal. He didn’t sign a new deal and was subsequently sold for what was described as a bargain £3 million to Swansea in January 2015, signed by then manager Garry Monk.

He’s gone on to make 80 Premier League appearances for the Welsh club and last season was named joint captain along with Leon Britton following the departure of Ashley Williams to Everton. During the season he played 30 times in the Premier League, starting 25 of those, and it was only towards the end of the season that he lost his place in the side following an injury at West Ham.

Since leaving Burnley, he’s scored just four league goals, two for each of Southampton and Swansea, and with three of them coming in the 2014/15 season. He scored his two Southampton goals within a month of each other, getting the third in a 4-0 home win against Newcastle in September 2014 and a month later scoring the third again as Sunderland were beaten 8-0 at St. Mary’s.

Another goal against Newcastle followed later in the season; he scored the third goal again, this time for Swansea in a 3-2 win at St. James’ Park. His one goal since came in a 3-1 home win against Liverpool in May 2016.

Having lost his place after their West Ham defeat, which appeared to have all but condemned them to relegation, Cork made just two substitute appearances for Swansea. He replaced Britton in two of their last three games of the season as they beat Everton at home and already condemned Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. He was an unused sub as they beat West Brom at home on the final day to end the season comfortably away from the bottom three.

With him potentially facing a battle to win a place in Paul Clement’s team, Burnley’s approach has come at the right time and we can welcome Jack Cork back for a fee that is being reported as some way below but one that could reach £10 million with future add ons.

He is the Cork in the Claret once more, and for the first time since he last wore our colours in May 2011 in a 1-1 home draw against Cardiff when he lined up in the following team: Brian Jensen, Tyrone Mears, David Edgar, Andre Bikey, Danny Fox, Chris Eagles, Wade Elliott, Jack Cork, Chris McCann, Ross Wallace, Jay Rodriguez.

Neither Kevin Long nor Dean Marney played in that game. They are the only two players remaining at Burnley since that last game in 2011 as we welcome Jack back to Burnley.

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