Brady moves ever closer to a first team return!

Robbie Brady takes the ball around Vitorino Hilton. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
Robbie Brady takes the ball around Vitorino Hilton. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
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Clarets winger Robbie Brady moved another step closer to a first team return after getting another 90 minutes under his belt for the Under 23s on Monday.

The 26-year-old claimed a couple of assists as the Clarets hit Sheffield United for six in the Professional Development League at the Tameside Stadium.

The Republic of Ireland international, who was being watched by Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane at the home of Curzon Ashton, supplied the set-pieces that led to the fourth and final goals of the afternoon.

Brady had previously featured alongside Steven Defour in a behind-closed-doors friendly against an AFC Fylde XI at the Barnfield Training Centre last Tuesday, and, having survived unscathed again, he should come into the thinking for Sunday’s visit of Chelsea.

With Defour also making his first Premier League start since January at Manchester City, Clarets boss Sean Dyche is cheered by the news on the injury front.

He said on Saturday: “We had to take Azza (Aaron Lennon) off, he was struggling at the end playing with the stitches in his thigh, which he did great with. We had to be precautionary.

“Robbie is close now, but not quite there yet.

“He’ll play on Monday, and if he gets through that 90, great news, that means he’s very close then.

“But Steven, I spoke to him about playing, I said, ‘look, it’s a tough game, but we want you in there and want you to get match fit’, and that will do him the world of good.

“Yet again, we took him off as a precaution, there was a lot of work involved with them keeping the ball, but he’ll come back and enjoy his or with us again, as will Robbie, so they’re getting closer now.

“And it’s appropriate timing, they’ve been very unfortunate, but we do need those reinforcements.”

The 6-0 win over the Blades included a welcome return to action for centre back Ben Gibson.

The summer signing, from Championship side Middlesbrough, has been out of action for a couple of months after undergoing surgery on a hernia.

And the 25-year-old, who made his debut in the Europa League qualifier against Istanbul Basaksehir at Turf Moor, admits that he’s also chomping at the bit to get back playing.

“It’s been a frustrating start for me after coming to a new club,” he said. “I got injured straight awayso I’m just happy to put that behind me and I can’t wait to get back fit and get back in the mix with the lads.

“I just want to get back, help them and make my mark for the team. Football is cruel at times.

“We have to be careful, it’s like a loading process really. I’ve had quite a big operation so you’ve got to be sensible.

“They’ve had to hold me back a few times when I’ve been a bit eager and I’ve been banging the door down. I just want to be back.”