Burnley winger's gratitude to West Ham

JUNIOR Stanislas is still awaiting his first senior goal for Burnley, but admits he won’t celebrate if he scores against his old club this afternoon.

It will be the second time the winger has faced West Ham United since swapping East London for East Lancashire in August.

His first game against his former employees ended in a 2-1 win for the Clarets, in which he set up captain Chris McCann’s equalising header before on-loan striker Sam Vokes grabbed the winner at Upton Park.

Stanislas’ 11-year association with the Hammers meant he returned to a warm welcome in that December fixture.

And it is because he got cheers not jeers that he admits he will be reserved should he break his Burnley duck this afternoon.

“I’ve still got a lot of love for the club,” said the 22-year-old.

“They brought me up through the system and gave me my first team opportunity as well.

“I’ve got a lot to be thankful for and I enjoyed my time there.

“It’s a good occasion for me to play against old friends and staff members that I know well.

“I think I might speak to a few of them before the game.

“A number of them still keep in touch. I was there for a long time so I’ve still got a lot of friends there.

“Jack Collison and James Tomkins were both a year older than me but we played in the same teams so those two are quite close to me.

“Everyone’s quite close together down there.”

Which is why Stanislas would be reluctant to go over the top if he got among the goals.

His first for the club came in last week’s reserve match with Morecambe.

It would mean a lot to him to transfer that to the first team.

But asked if he would celebrate breaking his first team duck today, there was a thoughtful pause before he said: “I don’t think so, purely because when we played away at Upton Park earlier in the season I got quite a nice reception, so I’m not West Ham’s most hated player. I think sometimes it’s the terms you leave on.

“I think it was more understood that I was a young player that wasn’t perhaps getting the opportunities that I would have liked to and maybe deserved. I think they understood I had to go away.”

Stanislas played 47 games for West Ham – 41 in the Premier League – after former manager Gianfranco Zola gave him his debut in 2009 following a successful loan spell with Southend. The wing man’s first team opportunities became limited, though, when Zola was sacked and replaced by Avram Grant, who was succeeded in the summer by Sam Allardyce following relegation.

West Ham were keen to return to the top flight at the first time of asking. Stanislas could have been a part of it, but he was more keen to play regular first team football.

“I don’t really feel I’ve got a point to prove (to West Ham),” he said.

“I moved up here because I wasn’t playing as regularly as I wanted down there.

“I think I’ve done that here.”

If Burnley can’t get promoted this season, though, he wants West Ham to.

“Why not?” said Stanislas.

“I’ve got a lot of my quite close friends still there and it would be good for them. I think it’s probably where they deserve to be.”

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