PAUL Weller's inspirational form at right-back has guaranteed him a place in Chris Waddle's future plans with a new contract offer on the table.

Weller's current deal expires in the summer and Waddle has moved to extend the 23-year-old's Burnley career which started as an apprentice at Turf Moor.

Waddle has also confirmed that he has recommended new contracts for Gerry Harrison, Damian Matthew and Mark Winstanley who would have been free to leave for nothing this summer under the Bosman ruling.

Weller does not fall into that category as he is under 24 but a new deal means he will not become a free agent for the foreseeable future.

"Paul has not come and asked us for a figure like the other lads but obviously we will be making Paul an offer," said Waddle.

"When we came to the club we thought he would be a good wing-back or right-back.

"He has had to bide his time to get the right-back position. I don't think he really wanted to play there but Chris Brass got injured and he fitted in and has looked a natural right-back.

"I know people have given man-of-the-matches to Glen Little and others but for me Paul has been our most consistent performer over the last three games by far."

With the freedom of movement for players over 24 taking effect for the first time this summer clubs will be powerless to stop players out of contract from moving on. Waddle is therefore keen to sort out deals for Harrison, Matthew and Winstanley whose careers at Burnley have gone full circle. Harrison went on the transfer list earlier this season and Matthew talked over a move to Northampton at Christmas, although both have since expressed a desire to stay. And Winstanley has been operating on a week-to-week contract this season.

Harrison would be a prime target after an outstanding campaign and Matthew and Winstanley have also played major roles for the Clarets after coming back into the fold in the second half of the season.

"I have asked players what they are looking for and they have come back to me with figures which I have passed on to the board," said Waddle.

"It's up to the board now to come up with packages and say to the players this is what we can offer.

"Ideally they should be doing that in the next week or two before they go on holiday because once they go on holiday they might not come back."

The Burnley player-manager has also offered further 12-month contracts to youngsters Phil Eastwood and Craig Mawson as he ties up the players he wants to keep, although Ian Duerden is being freed.

For goalkeeper Mawson it continues a remarkable comeback after he was initially released at the end of his YTS contract. No replacement was found and Mawson returned this year on a one-year deal which has been extended following his performances for the A team. "He has done enough to earn another year. He he is a big lad and has got a good coach in Chris Woods. If he is going to learn there is no-one better to learn from," said Waddle.

Waddle is also looking for Eastwood to progress and build on the potential which saw the 20-year-old striker make a first team debut at Watford on the opening day of the season.

"He's got the ability, there's no doubt about that," said Waddle. "But he's got to be stronger mentally and work at his game.

"He has two good feet, scores goals, has good movement and excellent technique but he has got a lot to learn and he's got another year to learn it."

Rossendale Clarets are running a coach to Bournemouth on Saturday picking up from Rochdale and through the Rossendale Valley. Prices are £17 and £12 including lunch. Details on (01706) 224924.

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