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Willie Irvine: Burnley better prepared for top flight
JULY 1 is a date which every year I remember very fondly, for it was the day I arrived in Burnley as a 16-year-old trialist for the Clarets.
Back in Northern Ireland the Belfast Telegraph had done a full page of the 16 trialists who had gone to different clubs, and according to them I was the only one who wouldn't have got signed on.
Well, as luck would have it I was the only one of the 16 who got signed on.
It was the 1959/60 season and I always think I must have been a lucky omen to the club, for they won the First Division that year.
But that’s enough if my reminiscing, back to the present and the dawn of a new campaign with the return to pre-season training.
Sean Dyche is getting his squad together nicely, and it’s good to see some experienced players getting on board.
I think that is something we missed in our last Premier League season – certainly experience at that level.
We all thought we’d be okay after getting off to a great start in beating Manchester United at Turf Moor.
But really, we weren’t ready for it. This time around I think we are better prepared and players like Steven Reid and Matt Taylor, who have had many seasons in the top flight, will help to have an impact on and off the pitch and guide the younger ones.
It’s a shame that we weren’t able to get Chris Baird back but one of his reasons for not returning and instead signing for West Brom is that he wanted regular first team appearances.
And with the form of Kieran Trippier there were certainly no guarantees. Family was another factor, with them being down south.
Hopefully there are a few more signings to come, ideally someone who can fill the void left by injured striker Sam Vokes until he is fit again.
I’m confident Danny Ings is going to have a great season and score plenty of goals but he will need someone like Sam to work off.