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Veteran Claret Duff all set for a new Turf Moor deal
MICHAEL Duff has played his way to a further 12 months at Turf Moor, after triggering an appearance clause in his contract.
The long-serving defender was on the brink of reaching the 25-game target when he suffered a calf injury against Peterborough in early February.
The form of young centre half Kevin Long, alongside Jason Shackell, looked like keeping Duff out of the side even after he returned to full fitness.
But manager Sean Dyche offered the Northern Ireland international an immediate recall for the visit of Hull City last Monday, taking Duff over the threshold and into another year with the club.
The 2013/14 campaign would be Duff’s 10th season with the Clarets, having arrived as one of former manager Steve Cotterill’s first signings in the summer of 2004, for a fee of just £30,000 from Cheltenham.
Talks are expected to take place about the prospect of a testimonial for the 35-year-old at a later date.
For the moment, Duff is focusing on remaining a key part in Burnley boss Dyche’s plans, after prolonging his career much longer than he was expected to after the multiple knee ligament damage he suffered in the 2007/08 season threatened to force him into early retirement.
Duff, who turned 35 this season, insists that despite his advancing football years he feels in top form.
“The injury was a big wake-up call for me, being told that I might not play again,” he said Duff.
“I feel as good as I did five, six, seven years ago and I think I look after myself a lot better now than I did, and I score as well if not better on testings - the biochemical side of it - than what I did when I was 28/29.
“I’ve learned again the position I play. Sometimes it allows you to play that little bit longer because you can maybe see something happening because the whole game happens in front of me.”
Of his longevity, he added: “At the minute I feel great.
“I’m 35 now. I’ve always had different types of motivation and right now it is proving people wrong.
“I’ve spent a lot of time talking to Grezza (Graham Alexander) - he played until he was 40 and played over 1,000 games so he knows better than anyone.
“He was brilliant for me.”