ROSS Wallace signed for Burnley to help them bounce back to the Premier League – he just didn’t expect it to take four years!
Wallace arrived at Turf Moor immediately after their relegation in 2010, moving from Preston North End because he believed the Clarets were real candidates to make an instant return to the top flight.
That did not happen and there were some lean times ahead, but the Scot is delighted that now he has achieved the goal he set when he signed for the club.
“It probably came a little bit later than I imagined!” the winger laughed. “But the boys have been fantastic this year and have thoroughly deserved it.
“Everyone is buzzing. In the last few weeks we’ve just been blowing teams away defensively and going forward.
“It’s not really sunk in yet but once we get back for pre-season we’ll be ready to go.”
Burnley players had avoided talking about promotion in recent weeks for fear of tempting fate.
For Wallace it is his second career promotion to the Premier League, after helping Roy Keane’s Sunderland win the league in 2007.
Burnley’s promotion has undoubtedly come as a greater surprise to those around the country.
“I think because of maybe the size of the club and the restraints, it’s a brilliant achievement,” Wallace said.
“It’s been hard not to talk about promotion, but you couldn’t because you need to get over the line first.
“But we got there eventually. I’m sure it’s going to be even harder next season but hopefully we can keep this kind of atmosphere for next season.”
Wallace has faced a real battle for a place since his return from a knee operation, with Scott Arfield and Michael Kightly already established in the wide positions.
The 28-year-old admits he expects competition for places will be even fiercer next season, with manager Sean Dyche likely to add to his squad in the summer.
“It’s going to be tough next year, even tougher than this year,” Wallace said.
“We’ve got a good squad of players, and we’ve got ability and a lot of energy in that team.
“I’m sure the gaffer has got a few things in mind for next season, but we’ll all be ready to come in for pre-season and go hard again next season.
“The gaffer has been absolutely magnificent since he came in.
“The players are playing with good organisation but he has told them to express themselves, and that’s what they’ve done.”