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Burnley FC Blog: Games are the aim for Bartley
ON Marvin Bartley’s Twitter avatar is a photograph of the cover of Will Smith’s feelgood film ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ and the words ‘Who knows what the future holds’.
Apt, really, considering that – if not in this transfer window, then perhaps when the loan market re-opens – the midfielder’s future may lie elsewhere.
Manager Sean Dyche has said, for more than a month, that while the chances of him being able to add to the squad were unlikely, he was not looking to lose anyone.
A few of the younger, development squad players would benefit from a spell out on loan, he felt. But that’s it.
Bartley could be an exception though, because he wants what he is no longer getting at Burnley and, based on the evidence, is not likely to get in the near future – regular first team football.
When the fresh-faced former window fitter arrived at Turf Moor two years ago today you would have struggled to find a wider smile.
The transfer window of January 2011 had come down to the final day.
Less than 48 hours after helping Bournemouth to a 2-1 win over Plymouth, Bartley was at home playing Call of Duty when the call for duty with the Clarets came.
Since then, the enthusiasm has visibly drained – particularly this season, most notably after Eddie Howe’s return to the south coast.
Bartley had made 130 appearances in three-and-a-half years with the Cherries when Howe made him one of his first Burnley signings.
Having made the step up, he recognised he was not guaranteed to replicate such a run of games.
“Obviously I’ve got to push my way into the squad first and then hopefully the team,” said Bartley at the time. “I’ll just bide me time and hopefully get the opportunity.”
But opportunities were hard to come by at first.
After coming off the bench to make his bow at Watford he made his full debut in a 2-0 defeat at Bristol City just over a month later, then ended his season by getting sent off at Nottingham Forest.
The following term got off to shaky start with another sending off at Crystal Palace. But things improved and Bartley became a cult figure at Turf Moor.
There was something instantly endearing about his somewhat ungainly style on the ball, but more significantly for Clarets fans, his unquestionable determination.
His status was enhanced by his first Burnley goal, in a 3-1 home win over Blackpool.
But with Chris McCann and Dean Marney working well in tandem in the midfield engine room, Bartley has never seemed a permanent fixture in the Burnley line-up.
Perhaps the writing was on the wall this summer, when the after-effects of an ankle injury carried over from the previous campaign disrupted his pre-season and left him playing catch-up. He has since started only two league games, and only once under Dyche.
That was a chance, on a chilly night in Barnsley, that he failed to take – hauled off after getting a frosty reception at half time.
Frustration is festering with his lack of game time.
That bright smile is growing dim.
He wants to play. That’s what makes him happy.