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Duff close to Clarets decision
MICHAEL Duff is nearing a decision on the offer of a new contract at Burnley.
Duff’s current deal expires at the end of this month but the popular defender has been offered a new one-year contract to remain at Turf Moor.
The 36-year-old is expected to face increased competition for a place in the Clarets starting line-up following the club’s promotion to the Premier League, with Sean Dyche aiming to add a centre back to his squad before the start of the new season.
Burnley are interested in West Brom’s Craig Dawson and have also been linked with Richard Keogh, the 27-year-old Derby County defender whose mistake handed QPR victory in the play-off final but who otherwise had an impressive season with the East Midlands club.
Duff is understood to have attracted interest from a couple of Championship sides but has always been happy at Burnley, the club he has represented for a decade since moving from Cheltenham Town in 2004.
The veteran has been in discussions with the Clarets over a deal and developments are expected soon.
“We’ve spoken to the club and we’re in talks,” Duff’s agent Gary Mellor confirmed.
Duff started 42 games during the 2013/14 campaign and was a pivotal part of the side that gained promotion to the top flight.
The Clarets had the meanest defence in the Championship, conceding only 37 goals in 46 league games, as Duff formed an effective partnership with captain Jason Shackell.
Dyche said last season that there was no limit on how long Duff could play on for, and the player himself said following promotion that he was remaining open minded.
Asked how long he would continue to play, he said: “I’ve no idea. I feel fit, we get the physical stats after every game and I’ve been no lower than any other centre half in the league.”
Burnley released Keith Treacy, Brian Stock, Nick Liversedge and David Edgar last month, and the latter has already joined Birmingham City.
But, like Duff, the Clarets want fellow out-of-contract players Junior Stanislas, Luke O’Neill and Chris Baird to stay.
Baird has been away with Northern Ireland on international duty during their recent tour of South America for friendlies against Uruguay and Chile.
The 32-year-old must decide whether he is willing to move north on a permanent basis after a brief period at Turf Moor at the end of the season following spells with Southampton, Fulham and Reading.
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