Skipper Heaton excited at the prospect of first team return
Skipper Tom Heaton can't wait to get back out onto the pitch in a Burnley jersey.
Heaton is with the Clarets in Cork this week on a five-day training camp.
And he is likely to play for the first team on Friday, for the first time since September, as Burnley take on League of Ireland Premier Division champions Cork City at Turners Cross.
Heaton dislocated his shoulder against Crystal Palace early last season, and while he returned to the squad for the back end of an historic campaign, Nick Pope’s form meant the bench was as far as he got.
Pope is currently away with England, ahead of tomorrow night’s World Cup semi-final with Croatia in Moscow, and Heaton is therefore in pole position to start in Burnley’s Europa League second qualifying round tie with Aberdeen, with the first leg to come a fortnight on Thursday.
And Heaton said: “I think it will be a tough tie because their season starts before ours, but we will be ready and we’ll approach it in the right manner. The feeling is one of excitement really.
“It’s still two weeks away and that’s a long time in pre-season and although it’s always there in the back of your mind, no one is getting ahead of themselves.
“You could feel that excitement last season, that positive journey and the connection with the fans and we want to take that forward.
“It’s a great marker being in Europe, but we don’t want it to end there. We want to kick on and see how far we can go.
“We’ve got another big Premier League season coming up, but we want to set our stall out and keep moving things forward and keep developing.”
Heaton’s injury also cost him his chance of going to Russia with the Three Lions, although he remains in Gareth Southgate’s thoughts, having been on stand-by for the tournament, training with the squad ahead of the tournament: “I got back fit towards the end of last season and to get the call to be on stand-by for England was great.
“I was delighted to be involved to be honest. The two weeks I spent with them before they flew to Russia there was a good vibe around the camp and a lot of practice has gone into what is being achieved out there.
“They’ve talked about ‘owning the moment’ and not rushing to take penalties, as we’ve seen in the past.
“I think we saw that the other night; there’s a calmness and they take their time and that made a big difference.”