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Jensen vows to be Burnley number one
BRIAN Jensen insists he has not signed a new deal at Burnley just to collect a testimonial – vowing to challenge Lee Grant for the number one spot at Turf Moor this season.
Jensen yesterday joined fellow goalkeeper Jon Stewart by penning a new deal with the Clarets and the Dane’s one-year contract includes the award of a testimonial.
The 37-year-old will be the first Burnley player to have a testimonial game since Graham Branch in 2007, with a match most likely to take place at some point next summer. A number of other events are also expected to be planned in his honour.
But, while pleased that his 10th season with the club will be rewarded with a benefit match, Jensen has made it clear that he also intends to fight hard to regain the goalkeeper’s jersey from Grant this term – having made only four first-team appear-ances last season.
“I’m not here just for a testimonial,” he said.
“I’m here to fight with all I can to get back into the side.
“I always see myself a first choice goalkeeper, but Granty has done really well since he’s been here.
“Both of us have to fight for one place and that’s what we’ll do.”
On his new deal, he added: “I always said it was my first priority to sign here again and I am really proud to be at the same club for 10 years.
“It’s a great club so I am very, very happy.
“There were one or two bits and bobs to sort out but it’s all done now and I have a testimonial year to look forward to.”
A lengthy absence through injury saw Jensen fall behind Grant in the pecking order last season and his future appeared uncertain after he took time to mull over the offer of a new one-year contract with the club, following the expiry of his previous deal.
But his attendance on the first day of pre-season training on Friday was a clear sign that he had decided to stay at the club, and a deal was concluded yesterday.
“We always wanted him as part of the squad and his experience will be vital,” said boss Eddie Howe.
“He has a big part to play in being a role model for the other players and the young group of goalkeepers we are bringing through.
“It’s important to have good professionals around them.
“We were also delighted to offer him a testimonial, which is recognition of the outstanding service he has given to the club.
“We are aware how popular he is and when he has his testimonial game I am sure it will be a special day for him and the supporters.”
The Clarets have also tied third-choice keeper Stewart to a new deal, although the 23-year-old could go out on loan again early in the season to gain further experience of first-team football.
Stewart arrived from Bournemouth a year ago but is yet to appear for the Burnley first team and spent a period on loan at Blue Square Premier side Alfreton at the end of last season.
“I will be trying my best in pre-season and see what I can do,” Stewart said.
“I am confident I can play anywhere, but it’s up the gaffer. If not, I will definitely get a loan club and see what I can do, like I did last year.
“My plan is not to hang around. I am going to push myself to try and get in this team or get a club on loan.
“It’s a massive year. I don’t want to waste any more time. I’m 23 now so I want to push on.”
The Clarets are also in discussions with striker Alex MacDonald over a new contract at the club.