“PROMOTION – it’s the word we’ve been waiting for,” said goalscorer Ashley Barnes with a smile on his face, no fear of reprisals after helping to fire Burnley back into the Premier League.

Promotion has followed the striker around in the 24-year-old’s career so far.

He went up with Brighton, scoring the decisive goal in a 4-3 win over Dagenham and Redbridge. He ended that season as top goalscorer.

He arrived at a Turf Moor in January as manager Sean Dyche’s first, and so far only, cash signing.

Injury to second top scorer Sam Vokes ended a patient wait for a starting place, with his three goals since contributing to wins over Charlton, Barnsley and now Wigan Athletic.

His last, the first in yesterday’s 2-0 win over the Latics, made for his finest hour as a Premier League place was confirmed.

“It’s the best feeling ever. Promotion – it’s the word we’ve been waiting for,” beamed Barnes, who was targeted by Dyche in the summer but in the end did not make the switch until the January transfer window.

“It’s a fantastic feeling.

“We’ll enjoy the celebrations and then keep on going.

“It’s what I’ve come here for. I’ve said all along it’s what I wanted, to help to get to the promised land and we’ve gone and done it.

“It’s the best feeling.”

And Barnes thanked the fans for the role they played in roaring the Clarets to the top flight.

A home sell-out greeted Burnley when they made their way out of the tunnel for kick-off, and got behind them from start to finish to see the job through.

“The fans were fantastic again, I don’t think there was an empty seat in the home end,” said the striker.

“When everyone was singing it was just incredible. The fans got on top of them and they got all nervous and it was fantastic.”

And Barnes is already hoping for more of the same next season, believing they can be the 12th man in the top flight.

“That can definitely help us next season, without a doubt,” he said.