THERE are close bonds in the goalkeeper’s union. Pals and team-mates Brian Jensen and Lee Grant are no exception.

But summer signing Grant wants the shirt off the Beast’s back.

When the 27-year-old made the move from Sheffield Wednesday to Turf Moor to be reunited with former Owls boss Brian Laws in the summer, it wasn’t to warm the bench.

“You could say it’s been a patient process. Frustrating’s another word I’d use, but obviously it’s been a good start so it’s been pleasing to see the lads get some good results,” said Grant.

The Hemel Hempstead-born stopper has so far had to play second fiddle to Jensen, who Laws assured would get the gloves to begin with.

Two clean sheets in the opening three games means that situation hasn’t changed.

But Grant, who played one game in a two-month loan spell in 2005/06, is expected to make his debut as a permanent signing at Morecambe’s new Globe Arena, as Burnley make their bow in the Carling Cup this season. And he’s determined to make the most of it.

“It’s a strange one because the side’s done well and kept clean sheets,” he said.

“For me it’s really just a case of looking to play well and try to give the manager a tough decision to make the following weekend.

“My role at the minute is to support the Beast and make sure he’s ready but by the same token I’m trying to make sure I’m ready and getting my head round playing, hopefully, tonight.

“He’s probably sick of the sight of me, and likewise I’m after his shirt.

“We’re both at each other’s throat in that respect, but in terms of the relationship on a social level we get on really well and he’s a great guy.

“It’s just a case of now trying to nick his shirt off him.

“It’s the same across the country because goalkeepers, we’re a different breed anyway, and we tend to work very closely and separate from the rest of the squad. You tend to be a very close, tight-knit unit, and that’s no different here.

“We’re good friends. We’re close and we get on well, but we’re very much aware that we’re both after spot.”

Grant knows how Jensen benefited from a start in the Carling Cup two seasons ago. After Burnley were beaten by the Owls on the opening day, with Diego Penny in goal, Jensen came in for the round one trip to Bury and never lost his place.

But Grant will have to bury his cup demons to mount further pressure on Dane’s position.

“I don’t like the cup actually, but I’ll put that to one side. It’s an ideal opportunity to go out and give the manager something to think about,” he said.

“In terms of momentum it’s important for the club because you want to get into a habit of winning games.

“It’s the perfect opportunity to keep going and hopefully get another clean sheet.”

And Grant isn’t the only Claret who will be looking to use tonight’s cup game as a means to make an impression on boss Laws.

“We’ve got a very good, strong squad and it was one of the main factors behind me signing here.

“You look at the players and we’re perfectly placed to have a really good crack at that top six.

“So whatever side we put out tonight should be very much capable of winning the game.”

With the tie being settled on the night, should it boil down to penalties, Grant fears more for his opposite number than himself if spot kick king Graham Alexander is on the pitch.

“He practices most weeks and I’ve had a quick look at a few of them in training” he said.

“It’s a bit baffling how he does what he does. I’ve tried to ask him a few times about it.

“He’s got a very different technique and style to anyone else I’ve seen and he’s very hard to read.

“But it’s a lottery anyway when it comes down to penalties.

“In all honesty it’s just a case of making sure you’ve got your mind round it beforehand and when it comes we’re hoping for the best.

“As a goalkeeper it’s a win-win situation anyway because you’re not really expected to do anything, but if you do all of a sudden you’re a hero, so it’s great.”