Keith’s joy at Burnley FC move

Keith Tracey
Keith Tracey
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WINGER Keith Treacy feels his switch to Burnley will make him a better player.

The 22-year-old moved down the M65 from relegated Preston North End on Tuesday for an undisclosed fee.

And while he was not impressed with the way the North End hierarchy dealt with the transfer, the former Blackburn wideman is delighted to be at Turf Moor.

He feels his international ambitions - having made his full debut for Eire in the summer against Northern Ireland - will also be boosted, and he said: “It was a big thing to leave Preston, but Burnley have given me the chance to better myself as a player.

“I’m over the moon with the move.

“I’ve joined a really ambitious club.

“I spoke to the manager about the Premier League and a three-year plan of getting back into the Premier League.

“I think it’s more than realistic that we can do it.

“He impressed me. He’s really ambitious and you can see by the signings that are coming in and the ones that may come in during the next couple of days, and the way that hopefully we will play against Watford.

“We should play really well and lay down the gauntlet for the season.”

His acquisition after a summer-long chase is in line with Eddie Howe’s desire to bring in young talent, and Treacy has already felt at home: “It’s good. In training everyone’s in and around the same age so there’s a lot of banter going around.

“Everybody gets on with each other and it’s a real tight team spirit. I can tell that already. I’m looking forward to the season.

“The players that are here now are going to be here for a lot of years, which bodes well for the future.”

Treacy felt he was kept in the dark by Preston about the transfer - having reported for Sunday’s friendly with Wigan, only to be told to go home: “I’m delighted the move’s got done, I just thought it could have been handled a lot better.

“There was a lot of guarantees made (at Preston) and I was happy with what was said to me. It’s what you do when you’re at a club - you knuckle down and you just focus on the club you’re playing for at the time.

“I felt like the carpet was whipped out from under me and I was pushed out of the door.

“I’m obviously very happy to be here. I’ve been here 24 hours and the lads are brilliant, the fans have welcomed me brilliantly on twitter and facebook and stuff. I am really happy to be here and I’m looking forward to playing out the season. But I think everything could have been handled a lot better.

“It’s just not been handled professionally at all. It was like, there’s the bid, get yourself gone.

“There were no discussions about whether I was happy with it. It was just sort of ‘go’.

“I’m not happy with the way it was done, but I got what I wanted in the end and that’s playing Championship football.”

Championship football was a must for Ireland boss Giovani Trappatoni, as he explained: “I spoke to Giovanni in the Irish set-up and he said I need to be playing Championship football at least to be in contention to play games for the Irish set-up.”

Treacy first caught Burnley fans’ eye with a stunning goal in North End’s 4-3 defeat at Turf Moor last September, and he enjoyed the experience of the derby: “The first game was a really good game.

“It was a bit end to end and there was a really good atmosphere.

“You could tell when the two played each other there was a bit of rivalry there, but I’ve got to make the decision for myself and I feel I’ve made the right one to come here.”

Howe also feels he has made the right decision, after impressing in a relegated side: “Keith’s been a target of ours for most of the summer.

“I saw him play an awful lot last year for Preston. He’s a very talented player and we liked him straight away.

“Keith’s stats stack up against most players in the Championship.

“He scored nine goals and had double figures in terms of assists. He’s one of the top ones in all areas of the stats.

“With his age and he has a lot of potential to improve he just ticks a lot of boxes for us.”

He added: “He did well in a struggling team last year so we’re confident he can make us a better side.

“He’s a little bit short on fitness at the moment because he was ill last week and he hasn’t done an awful lot of training because he came back late after being with the Republic of Ireland squad.

“We’ve got a little bit of work to do with Keith in terms of fitness but once we get him up to speed I’m sure he’ll be a huge asset.”

Howe has also signed former Bournemouth goalkeeper Jon Stewart as third-choice on a one-year deal with a one-year option following a successful pre-season trial.