Duff is pivotal to Burnley, says former team-mate Carlisle

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter

CLARKE Carlisle believes Michael Duff’s experience could be ‘pivotal’ to the fortunes of a youthful Burnley team next season after his former Clarets team-mate agreed a new 12-month deal with the club yesterday.

Duff’s current Burnley deal was due to expire this summer but the 34-year-old has agreed terms to keep him at the club for the 2012/13 campaign, which will be his ninth season at Turf Moor.

Carlisle played alongside Duff for four seasons, with both in the side that won promotion to the Premier League in 2009, and has no doubt how impor-tant the former Cheltenham defender’s new deal could prove to be for the club.

Eddie Howe has lowered the average age of the squad this season, which played a part in Carlisle’s exit on loan – first to Preston and now to Northampton.

“Duffo is a fantastic centre half and he has the experience,” said Carlisle, whose own Clarets contract will not be renewed when it expires in June.

“He’s a calm old head and you do need that in a very young team. That will be pivotal to their success.

“He has experienced every facet of football, he’s been in non-league, he’s been in promotion battles, relegation battles, he’s been involved in any scenario so when you’re in that situation he knows what it’s all about.

“And he always has that consistency, he’s the Denis Irwin of Burnley – you never get less than a seven out of 10 from him and you need players like that.”

Duff was brought to Turf Moor by Steve Cotterill in 2004, earning a recall to the Northern Ireland squad in February, and spoke about his new deal on Twitter yesterday.

“Got to feel sorry for Burnley fans, got to watch me for one more year!” he joked.

“Just signed a new deal keeping me here till 2013.”

Duff has long been regarded as one of the more dependable members of the Clarets squad and Carlisle believes his attitude to the game is something that rubs off on other players.

“I think the players look at him as a good professional, someone who lives his life the right way,” said the 32-year-old, who also now acts as the chairman of the PFA.

“I think if you didn’t look up to that there would be something wrong.

“His awareness and his positional sense are excellent, and that’s why into his 30s he is still getting international recognition.

“He was a pleasure to play alongside and he’s settled in the area, so I’m delighted for him.”

Burnley have recalled striker Joe Jackson from a loan spell at hometown club Barrow.

The Blue Square Premier club said the 19-year-old had been recalled to take his place in the Clarets’ first-team squad for this afternoon’s Championship game at home to Coventry City.

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