Lowton ready for first experience of the East Lancs Derby

Defender Matt Lowton is determined to secure Burnley's first derby double against Rovers in almost 37 years as he prepares to make his debut in the clash.

Friday, 4th March 2016, 2:16 pm
Updated Friday, 4th March 2016, 2:26 pm
Matt Lowton in action last week against Bolton

Tony Morley and Brian Hall were the heroes the last time the Clarets achieved that feat after Paul Fletcher and Peter Noble had netted in the reverse fixture at Turf Moor during the 1978/79 campaign in the old Second Division.

Scott Arfield's winner at Ewood Park in October has given Sean Dyche's side the platform to assert their dominance over their rivals and Lowton fully acknowledges how important that would be to the fans.

"With derby games it's always a slightly different build up," he said. "They mean a lot more to the fans.

"There was a lot of police presence going in to the stadium last time; it's a derby like any other. Obviously around these parts it means a lot to these fans so it's important to give them all our effort and endeavour to make sure that we're the one with the bragging rights.

"I was a little bit surprised. I didn't really know how big the rivalry was between the teams until the build up to the game in October. It just shows what the game means to the fans. Growing up as a fan of football you know that yourself so it's important that we win for them."

He added: "You want to be involved in the big games, definitely. You want it to be the one that the fans are talking about for hopefully taking six points off their rivals this season. Everyone is looking forward to getting out there on Saturday.

"It has been a long time so it would be nice to be part of the team to get six points off their rivals in over 30 years. It's another three points and another chance for us to stay top of the league."

Lowton has featured in the Steel City derby between Sheffield duo, United and Wednesday, as well as the West Midlands derby between Aston Villa and West Brom.

While his experiences for the Blades weren't particularly memorable, having not won in two outings, he was unbeaten in five against the Baggies, winning three of those.

"It was very tough," said Lowton, when asked about defeat against the Owls. "It's not very nice losing a derby, especially when you live round there because you see it directly as I would here.

"It would be tough to take if we lose but we don't think like that. We're going in to Saturday to win the game and give our fans the bragging rights of taking six points off their rivals."

Speaking about his success with the Villans, he went on: "We played them twice in a week last season - once in the FA Cup and again in the league. They were great games and the atmosphere was electric at Villa Park. It was great to come out on top and hopefully I can add another derby win this weekend.

"At the end of the day it is just another game and we've got to make sure we're ready for them because we know they're going to be up for it.

"We'll match them, like we have done with every other team this year, with our work rate, our attitude and I'm sure our quality will come out on top as well.

"We know they are a good team. They've got a new manager in now so they'll be trying extra hard and it's a derby as well. They'll definitely be up for the game we've just got to make sure we match that first and foremost."

Meanwhile, Lowton is sure that his former boss Paul Lambert will have Rovers fired up for the Championship game.

The Chesterfield-born right back was given his first taste of Premier League football by the Scotsman when making a £3m move from the Blades to Villa in the summer of 2012.

Lowton was handed 74 appearances in all competitions under Lambert at Villa Park before Tim Sherwood was unveiled as his successor last February.

"He signed me at Villa so it took my confidence to another level with signing for a Premier League team," said Lowton. "When I got there he sat me down and I was massively nervous but all he said to me was 'pass to somebody in the same colour shirt and you'll be fine'.

"It made me relax a lot. He looks irate on the touchline but he's very relaxed and he likes his players to play. He likes to fill them with confidence.

"He is straight to the point but at the same time he doesn't put too much pressure on you. He doesn't mind mistakes - if you keep making them then it's going to be a problem - but he likes you to try things. He helped me a lot in my career."

Lowton added: "He kept Villa in the league for three seasons with the budget that he had. It shows now that he did a good job because they're struggling a lot this year and they've spent a lot of money as well. You could say he was hard done to.

"I suppose he just wanted to get back in to football and Blackburn came knocking. He did it with Norwich and got back-to-back promotions from League One so I know he can do it. He's the sort of person that will give it everything he's got. I'm sure he'll be successful. I'll wait until after (to shake his hand). I'll say 'hello', definitely."