STAN Ternent believes Lenny Johnrose will make it a hat-trick of promotions for the partnership by taking Burnley back into the First Division next season.

Johnrose was set to make his Burnley debut against Reading at Turf Moor this afternoon after signing from Bury in a £225,000 three-year deal yesterday.

And while the Clarets look to have given themselves too much to do to reach this season's play-offs, the club is gearing itself for a promotion challenge in the Millennium.

Johnrose, who went from the Third Division to the First under the guidance of Ternent at Gigg Lane, has been signed with that in mind. To get the 29-year-old midfielder at this stage is therefore a bonus for Ternent who would have liked to have bought the player on his arrival the club last June, but thought it might be this summer before he landed his long-time target.

"I made it known to the chairman of Bury through an enquiry that if he ever became available I would be interested," revealed Ternent.

"Whether we could have afforded to get him then (I don't know), so I just wanted to be kept abreast of the situation, as I am with another three or four players at different clubs.

"And when they become available then I would try and get them because the picture I have is a promotion-winning team next year.

"We have to do that. That's my brief and that's what I'll do, or that's what the players will do with me on their backs. That's what'll happen, believe me that's what'll happen." The Burnley boss added: "The chairman and the board have taken Lenny on the wage bill and in an ideal world I would have liked him to be on the wage bill in the summer because I am way above my budget so that's the backing I'm getting.

"That's how determined they are. That's not being patronising or anything else, that's what's happening, and in the summer I'll have to balance the books up.

"But in football players become available often when you least expect it and if you're in the market-place and if you're ambitious you go and do it.

"They're backing me and I intend to repay their faith. I would have liked him at the start of the season. I would have liked Mellon at the start of the season, I would have liked Davis at the start of the season. But sometimes it takes a while."

Johnrose, who started his career with Blackburn Rovers before joining Hartlepool and then Bury in December 1993, was set for a Clarets debut on the left-hand side of midfield.

A powerful operator in that department, Ternent believes the 29-year-old will bring speed, skill, aggression and a will-to-win to his side. "He's a proven first division player who will be a fantastic player for Burnley Football Club," added the Clarets chief, who has taken his spending to £1,325,000 since Christmas thanks to the investment of new chairman Barry Kilby and the success of the club's rights issue.

"They have found me £225,000 plus the levies plus the VAT in a one-hit payment to get him. That's a lot of money. That's the equivalent of a half-a-million transfer fee again because that money has to be paid up front right away.

"I have a responsibility to the club and I have to be right, and I'm dead right with Johnrose.

"I'm delighted I have got him. I can see it coming together a little bit. I need two or three new players for the squad and then we'll give the Burnley fans something to cheer about."

Kilby stressed that the board is doing everything possible to back Ternent's promotion plan with the chairman believing a second tier of the Premiership is just around the corner.

He said: "It's continuing the board's policy of bringing quality players to Turf Moor and everything's with an eye on getting to that First Division.

"We really want to go for it next year. It's important when the split does come between the haves and the have-nots we have got to be in with the haves." Johnrose has also set his sights on a return to Division One after dropping down a level for the time being at least.

"The potential of the club is obviously quite grand so I am looking forward to doing as well as we can this season and getting as high as we can.

"But certainly next season trying to have a good bash at getting into the First Division," he insisted.

Johnrose has been a mainstay of the Bury midfield for five seasons, but was glad to make the switch and follow Peter Swan and Gordon Armstrong to Turf Moor.

He added: "I just want to try and go out and play and enjoy my football which I haven't particularly been doing at the moment and I want to do that here.

"Obviously the gaffer was a factor in coming here, that and the size of the club, and I just want to go out and enjoy it again."

Johnrose started his career at Ewood Park but insists the rivalry between Blackburn and Burnley won't cause a problem in his new surroundings. "That'll go down well!" he laughed. "But it's not something you think about and although I'm sure they'll give me a little bit of stick I can handle that."

And Ternent stressed that quality was his only yardstick for signing players.

"He will become a firm favourite at Burnley, even though he played for Rovers," said Ternent.

"He was a cult figure at Bury and very good player and the same thing will happen here. The crowd will take to him.

"And if they come from Mars or Blackburn Rovers or wherever I don't give a damn really, just as long as they can play and they get Burnley where we want to be.

"All I'm interested in is good players."

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