TONY Grant reckons he is finally fighting fit and ready to become the meaty midfielder Burnley need.

Grant's gritty man-of-the-match performance against Crewe on Saturday was the perfect answer to criticism from manager Stan Ternent and the knockers in the Turf Moor stands.

Ternent had made his feelings clear in pre-season by insisting Grant was living in the "comfort zone" and warning he would not play unless he "shaped up".

Clearly that has had the desired effect as the former Manchester City midfielder, 28, has improved with every game since the opening day defeat to Crystal Palace.

And Grant credits a gruelling pre-season training schedule with giving him the leg-up he needed to prove a point.

He said: "I heard what the gaffer said in pre-season. I didn't read the reports, I just heard second-hand, but I don't know if what he said was a kick up the backside because in pre-season I feel I was training well.

"It was just one of those things and I have got over it now and I feel my own performances are getting better.

"A lot of things were wrong last year and I wasn't happy with myself. But I have knuckled down this season and got myself fit and now I just have to keep focused for the rest of the season."

Ternent, clearly delighted with the 1-0 victory over Crewe thanks to teenage rookie Richard Chaplow's first competitive goal, added: "Tony Grant was fantastic and he's getting there - it's coming.

"Young Chaplow was (also) fantastic and did really, really well. It's marvellous for him to score his first senior goal and for an 18-year-old he's a player. If he keeps his feet on the ground and maintains his progress, he'll be fine."

Chaplow and Grant dominated the engine room as the Clarets racked up back-to-back wins and clean sheets with a hard-fought win over Alex to follow up their stunning success on the road at Gillingham.

And Grant was right behind Ternent in the queue to praise his 18-year-old midfield partner.

He said: "I'm made up for Richard. He can run all day and deserved to score his goal and the kid certainly has a chance.

"But to be fair we have all worked really hard in pre-season and had the bit between our teeth early on."

"We were just a bit unlucky with the results because the team have played well.

"To me, it looks like we are a fitter team and, with the players we have, if we can all stay fit and well we should get plenty more good results like this."