BURNLEY legend Chris Pearce may have started his career at Wolverhampton Wanderers but his colours are firmly nailed to the mast ahead on Sunday’s first top-flight meeting between the Football League founder members in 33 years.

“Simple,” he said when asked who he wants to win.

“It’s got to be Burnley, I am a Burnley fan and I really hope they go to Wolves and win.

“I am delighted to see them back where they belong in the top flight after so many years and they are doing really, really well and it is great to see.”

Times have certainly changed at Turf Moor since the days when goalkeeper Pearce was the darling of the Longside, whose chant of ‘Pearce, Pearce give us a dance’ was always rewarded with a few killer moves from the ever-smiling Welsh international.

The Newport-born Pearce, now 48 and an NHS support worker, began his career as a trainee at Wolves before moving to Blackburn, Port Vale and Wrexham.

He moved to Burnley in the wake of the 1987 Leyton Orient game, a match Burnley won to stay in the league.

And his first season ended with an unforgettable Wembley day out against Wolves in the 1988 final of the Sherpa Van Trophy, a game watched by crowd of more than 80,000, a record attendance for a match between two Fourth Division sides.

Burnley may have lost 2-0 to goals from Andy Mutch and Robbie Dennison that day - but the seeds of success were starting to be sown.

“Brian Miller was the manager and he built a team,” he said. “And it was a good team.

“And the day at Wembley is one I will never forget. I still have all my kit from the day and it was special.

"Both Wolves and ourselves were in the old Fourth Division back then so it really is great to see them both back in the top flight.”

Much of the talk this week has surrounded Mick McCarthy’s decision to rest 10 of his players in Tuesday’s game at Manchester United so they are fresh for the Burnley clash.

But that is not something that settles well with Pearce.

“It’s wrong,” he said. “The fans pay a fortune to watch football now and they were treated to a reserve team.

"Clubs shouldn’t be allowed to do that and I really hope the decision comes back to bite Wolves.”

It is that sort of scenario that threatens to ruin the game and led to Pearce falling out of love with football for a time following his retirement.

“I spent a couple of years coaching at Man United but the game has changed, he added.

“Players get paid too much nowadays and it is over-priced for the fans.

“I enjoy watching and I enjoy coaching some kids but I wouldn’t like to be involved day-to-day anymore.

“I am just happy watching Burnley with my son Josh - and I hope we are smiling on Sunday.”