PHIL Bardsley may be playing second fiddle to Matt Lowton in the battle for Burnley’s right back berth but says it is a fight that will get the best out of both players.

The 35-year-old, who has just signed a new one-year contract extension, has been restricted to just four league appearances this season with Lowton Sean Dyche’s current preferred option for the position.

But the experienced former Manchester United and Sunderland defender knows he has a big part to play both on and off the pitch at Turf Moor.

Bardsley, whose last first team outing was the 3-0 win at Crystal Palace on February 13, is full of admiration for the player who is keeping him out of the team and will continue to try and help Burnley maintain their Premier League status.

“Lowts has been in outstanding form and as a senior player you stand back and admire someone playing well and just keep pushing them,” Bardsley told the club website.

“I’ll be patient, keep training as I do, keep helping the young lads around the place progress and improve them and keep pushing the lads on a match day, as well, inside the dressing room and be that vocal voice to help try and get the points on the board.”

The right-back - who has also been capped 13 times by Scotland - is delighted to have signed a new deal with the Clarets and is keen to add to the 68 appearances he has made since joining from Stoke City in July 2017.

Bardsley, just like Lowton, is the latest member of Dyche’s squad to be rewarded with a new contract.

Now he wants to repay that faith shown in him by the manager after committing himself to a club "going in the right direction".

“It’s one of those football clubs you want to be at,” he added.

“I see it going in the right direction and being around this group they push you every day, as will the manager.

“He gets the best out of you day in, day out and getting to my mid-30s now, it’s important I stay in shape and focus on trying to get into the team.

“That’s the target, to continue playing, and thankfully the gaffer has shown the belief in me to warrant a new deal and I’m excited for the future.”

Bardsley was an unused substitute in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal which kept the Clarets four points above the relegation zone and will likely be involved in the squad at Everton on Saturday as Dyche’s men look to keep building on a run of just one defeat in seven games.

“It was a great result on Saturday, against a decent outfit. There are10 games left, plenty of points to play for, and we’re in good form,” he said.

“The lads are playing some really good stuff and looking solid as well so hopefully we can get a couple more wins and get over the line and finish as high as possible.”