Burnley striker Barnes brings up fifth anniversary
Ashley Barnes celebrates five years as a Claret this weekend - having been Sean Dyche's first cash signing.
The 29-year-old arrived from Brighton for £450,000 on January 10th, 2014, to bolster a Burnley squad pushing for automatic promotion to the Premier League.
He had to be patient for his chance behind strike pair Sam Vokes and Danny Ings, who scored 47 goals between them.
But he ended the season with three goals, including the winner at Barnsley, and the goal which set them on the way to sealing promotion against Wigan at Turf Moor.
The former Plymouth man has gone on to score 29 in 162 appearances for the Clarets, hitting double figures in the top flight last season, and he is Burnley’s top Premier League scorer with 24, scoring against all the big six in that time.
He is back in the side currently, and back to his best, netting the winner at Huddersfield, and Dyche said: “Barnesy was the first fee, £450,000 I believe it was, and I think it’s fair to say the lad’s done more than alright!
“He’s been in really good form for the last little while, playing well, and he looks free and clear.
“I think he’s matured into it, I think, with a lot of our players, we didn’t sign them thinking ‘definitely your going to be in the Premier League and you’re all going be Premier League players’.
“We signed them for development, can they help now, can they help going forward, can they continue improving?
“And he’s a good mixture of that, Barnesy.”
Many wondered how he would fare at the top level, but, after a cruciate knee ligament injury at the end of the 2014/15 season, he has adapted superbly: “Signed him, helped us that season, and continued to improve.
“He’s improved his game, improved his playing, a few ups and downs along the way, which can happen, whether it’s injuries, in and out of form.
“But he’s proved to be a very good striker and deserves to be doing what he’s doing.
“Most of our players have developed into the role of being Premier League players, aside from Corky, Bardo, Jon (Walters), Joe (Hart) of course, and Aaron Lennon, who were recognised Premier League players.
“Five out of the whole club. The rest have developed and matured into it, along the way, which is good.
“It makes it more challenging trying to add more of that, and the market suggests it’s not that easy.”