WHAT a difference three days makes! Woeful against Watford they did nothing to inspire confidence in their fans.

But those who left Turf Moor last night can be proud of how they performed against Preston.

It was not the most fluent display of the season, the passing movements may not have flowed as they have at times, but boy did they want to win it.

Hardly a surprise given that it was a derby played on the back of a run of eight games without a win, but there have been questions asked about the players from manager and fans alike.

The two scorers were certainly hungry enough as both Dimitri Papadopoulos and Robbie Blake would have liked to have played more than they have this season.

But even before last night's win there was at least something for fans to hang hopes on.

Amid the general chaos and carnage on Saturday what a joy it was to see young Matty O'Neill getting his first chance to show what he can do in the first team.

I have seen him playing at both youth and reserve team level and have always liked his attitude and his ability. Some fans have kept mentioning his long throw, a potent weapon when you have a target like Gareth Taylor, but there is a lot more to his game than that.

Only last week in this column I bemoaned the lack of young talent at Turf Moor and the presence of three young players on the bench against Preston North End was refreshing. It was never a match when the manager felt he could bring them on but O'Neill, Joel Pilkington and Richard Chaplow will all hopefully benefit from the experience.

Okay, their selection last night was simply a reflection of the lack of fit bodies available for the Burnley boss but out of adversity, professional careers can grow.

Didn't Chris Woods become an England star after being thrust into the firing line in a League Cup final?

No one had heard of another keeper, Nigel Spink, before he replaced Jimmy Rimmer in the European Cup final for Aston Villa against Bayern Munich.

Talking of keepers, it was no great surprise that Nik Michopoulos returned in goal in place of Marlon Beresford, the fans who had called for change getting their wish.

There is an argument for saying the change came a couple of games too late because it has been obvious that Beresford has been short on confidence and, in a goalkeeper, that is critical.

Beresford is out of contract in the summer and having been number one choice virtually all season has been thought of as one of the first players the club would like to secure for next season.

Michopoulos is also out of contract and sources in Athens suggest there is not a queue of clubs rushing to take him home.

However he has done well on loan at Crystal Palace this season, has rarely let Burnley down and how he will have enjoyed keeping a clean sheet last night.

But if ever you wanted an illustration of the fact that a union of goalkeepers truly exists it came last night. As the Greek stopper made one of his two key saves it was Beresford, the man he replaced, who led the applause.

They will be back together on the training ground tomorrow, trying to help make themselves the best they can possibly be. The club is lucky to have them.