CLARETS goal-scoring legend Willie Irvine is in hospital with a fractured skull and several other broken bones following a fall at his home.

The former striker, who played 126 times for Burnley FC between 1960 and 1968, fell head first down the stairs on Tuesday night.

The 75-year-old suffered a fractured skull, a broken shoulder blade, a broken cheekbone and a fractured eye socket in the incident at his Worsthorne house.

Mr Irvine is currently in the high-dependency unit of the Royal Preston Hospital.

His youngest son Jonathan said: “ My father is making slow progress but moving in the right direction.

“He fell head first down the stairs on Tuesday night and fractured his skull, shoulder blade, cheekbone and eye socket. He is currently in the high-dependency unit at the Royal Preston Hospital and my mother Rita is with him. I, my brothers Stephen and Darren, and the rest of the family are visiting him regularly.

“It was a bad fall but we are hopeful of a full recovery.”

A Burnley FC spokesman said:  “As a club we are very sorry to hear of Willie’s recent accident s and pray for his speedy recovery.”

Mr Irvine, a Northern Ireland international player and former Lancashire Telegraph columnist, scored 78 goals for the Clarets and eight for his country in 23 appearances.

After leaving Turf Moor he also played for Preston North End, Brighton and Hove Albion, and Halifax Town ending his career at Great Harwood before hanging up his boots aged 29 in 1974.

When playing for Northern Ireland he shared a room with Manchester United star George Best and for Burnley formed a prolific goal-scoring partnership with Andy Lochhead.

Clarets fan Alastair Campbell, former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s press secretary, said: “I wish Willie a speedy recovery. He was a great player for Burnley.”

Mr Irvine was born in Eden County Antrim and grew up in the nearby town of Carrickfergus.

He started his career at local club Linfield joining Burnley FC aged 16, progressing through the youth and reserve teams before making his senior debut in 1963.

In 1965/66 he scored 29 goals and was the leading scorer in the old First Division.

Mr Irvine, who played mainly as a centre forward, lost his place in the Burnley first team after breaking his leg in a cup tie in 1967 and moved to PNE in March 1968.

For some years he gave guided tours of Turf Moor on matchdays.