GOALKEEPER Tom Heaton is set to be Burnley manager Sean Dyche’s first summer signing, after losing his first and second choice stoppers.
The 27-year-old is out of contract after just a year with Bristol City, who suffered relegation to League One, and looks set to fill the void left by Lee Grant, who completed his return to Derby County this week, and Brian Jensen, who has been allowed to leave after 10 years at Turf Moor.
The former Manchester United academy graduate was at Gawthorpe yesterday for a medical, with the move set to be made official by early next week.
Heaton has family ties to East Lancashire with his family owning Heaton’s Furnishing in Nelson.
Although Heaton spent eight years at Old Trafford, during which time he was loaned out to Swindon, Royal Antwerp, Cardiff City, Rochdale and Wycombe it was after he made a permanent move to Cardiff that he made his name.
The Chester-born goalkeeper worked his way into the number one spot under Dave Jones following injury to David Marshall, and earned the young player of the year award at the end of the first season of his second spell with the Bluebirds.
Following the appointment of Malky Mackay as manager in the summer of 2011 Heaton found himself as understudy to Marshall, but had a big impact that season in the Carling Cup.
Heaton was the hero as Championship side Cardiff reached Wembley, thanks to two saves in the semi-final penalty shoot-out against Crystal Palace.
He recovered from an ankle injury in time to play in the final against Liverpool, which ended with another shoot-out.
Heaton gave Cardiff hope of glory by pushing Steven Gerrard’s first spot kick onto the bar, but Liverpool ultimately won 3-2 on penalties.
He found himself back on the bench on the club’s return to league action, and as a result rejected a new contract with Cardiff last summer.
Heaton was on his way to Watford and it is understood he would have signed at Vicarage Road but for Dyche’s dismissal days earlier and the new owners pulling out of talks.
He instead joined Bristol City in July, signing a one-year deal with a further 12-month option, which has not been activated, therefore making him a free agent.
The Clarets had run the rule over Motherwell keeper Darren Randolph but he is now expected to join Birmingham City.