CHRIS BRASS can ponder on a satisfactory 1995 and focus on a promising senior career at Turf Moor.

Yet five years ago his soccer vocation was nearly chopped cruelly short when Ipswich Town released him at the fragile age of 15 !

"John Duncan signed me at Ipswich but when John Lyall arrived there he got rid of a lot of the yongsters. Unfortunately, I was among them, " recalled Chris.

"It was a big disappointment at the time and quite hard for me. I went on trial to Sheffield United and Middlesbrough and several other clubs.

"But I had a gut feeling about Burnley. I just sensed it was right for me to sign."

It is a decision he has not regretted and, encouraged by his father Billy who watches his every match, his professional career has taken off.

After a brief but productive loan spell with Torquay United last season, Chris made an assured full Football League bow against Millwall last April, four months short of his 20th birthday.

Now, after re-affirming his commitment to the Clarets in the summer, putting pen to paper on a two-year deal, full-back Brass has claimed his first team opportunity with eager hands.

Enthusiastic, intelligent and willing to learn, you sense Brass has a maturity beyond his tender 20 years.

A product of the richly gifted Durham County youth side, Chris played alongside Leeds' Mark Tinkler, Middlesbrough goalkeeper Ben Roberts and Adam Reed of Blackburn Rovers.

But clearly, at Turf Moor, Terry Pashley and reserve team coach Harry Wilson have played a major role in influencing his development to the professional ranks. The Turf Moor coaching pair have nurtured Brass through to the first team via the youth and reserve team grades.

"Harry and Terry have both excelled with the young players at Burnley," added Chris.

"They are a great help to me. It proves the benefit of having a healthy youth policy. It has to be way the forward for a club like Burnley."

A ferocious competitor, Brass's extended first team chance arrived last month following the unfortunate hamstring injury to regular right back Gary Parkinson.

He is now virtually sure to take the number two shirt against Bristol City at Turf Moor tomorrow.

"The major factor between the reserves and first team is the pace of the game and whether you are a quick learner or not, " added Chris.

"It is important that you confidence remains high. It really is a constant learning process.

"It is the same for both myself and Paul Weller. We have arrived in the first team together and we seem to have a natural understanding between us.

"We are also good mates off the field and it is quite strange that we have broken through together.

"In the short term my ambition is to keep my first team place and continue learning."

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