JOHN Byrom is hoping Sunday’s East Lancashire derby provides the entertainment that will have people talking about it for years after insisting the players have a duty to play it in the right spirit.

The former Blackburn Rovers inside forward played in six games against Burnley during the 1960s and 1970s without a win but hopes he will be cheering Sam Allardyce’s men on to victory from the stands this weekend.

Byrom, 65, admits that not every East Lancs derby over the years has been one to remember, claiming local pride alone isn’t enough to guarantee a thriller.

He said: “It depends on the score, doesn’t it? If it is 0-0 it will be forgotten very quickly but if there are a few goals, good football, and plenty of excitement then it will go down in history and people will be talking about it in 20 years.

“Back in those days there were some very good players from both teams. You admire good players even if they are not on your side and Burnley had players to admire just as we did.

“Probably the most exciting derby game during my time was when I was on the groundstaff as a youngster and we beat them in the FA Cup on the way to the final in 1960.

“I remember scoring twice against them as well when I returned to the club in the 1970s but we still only managed a 2-2 draw.”

While Byrom, who is still based in the Ribble Valley, is hoping Rovers can extend Burnley’s 30-years of derby pain he insists he has no animosity towards Burnley.

During his 10-year spell at Bolton, he played with Burnley’s now chief executive Paul Fletcher and head of youth Martin Dobson, and believes the Turf Moor outfit’s resurgence under Owen Coyle deserves huge credit.

He said: “I am so pleased for Fletcher and Dobson.

“Even though I am a Blackburn lad, I’m delighted to see a couple of old friends do so well at a local club.

“It is the same for their chairman, Barry Kilby. He played for Great Harwood and it is good to see what he has done for Burnley.

“Games like this have to be good for the area. I just hope everyone behaves themselves.

"Hopefully the crowd can enjoy a good game and the players play in the right spirit.

"I certainly have no animosity towards them, I still hope Blackburn beat them though.”

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