ASHLEY Barnes will return to his former club today as a symbol of how far the Clarets have come in recent years and how some of Sean Dyche's longstanding players have kept pace with that development.

When Barnes swapped the Amex Stadium for Turf Moor in January 2014 he was Dyche's first cash signing as Burnley boss, having relied on free transfers and loans until that point.

Barnes set Burnley back what now looks a meagre £450,000, but was then considered a big deal as the Clarets sought to secure the most unlikely of promotions to the top flight in that 2013/14 season.

Just three a half years later Dyche was spending £15million on a striker this summer, in Chris Wood, but Barnes remains a valuable asset in his squad and it was the former Albion striker who scored his second goal of the season on Tuesday to down Stoke and send the Clarets, briefly, into the top four.

That took Barnes to 13 Premier League goals for Burnley, tied with Sam Vokes as the Clarets' leading scorer in the the competition.

"It seems weird now, because I feel we’re spending a lot for Burnley, but in the big wide world you see how quickly the numbers have gone bump, bump, bump," Dyche said of that six-figure splurge on Barnes.

"He’s done well. Really well. I’m really happy with him, and he’s done his part, and continues to do so.

"He's good around the camp, a good member of the group, and he’s done well for us this season in very different situations – starting or off the bench, he’s been very active.

"The respect I have for the players who are not in the team is huge, because they’re vital to our success."

This is Burnley's visit to the Amex since the dramatic day 19 months ago when they shared four goals with Albion as both sides battled for promotion to the top flight.

That season ended with Burnley lifting the Championship title and it was the character on show in that 2-2 draw that was so vital. Michael Keane had seen a late header cross the line only for the officials to fail to spot it, but he made sure in injury-time with a bullet header that hit the back of the net.

"It's not really one of the sweetest games I’ve been involved in, because it could have been a win," Dyche said. "But it was a great point, and a needed point at that time.

"It gave us the momentum to go on and take the title, so very good memories of going down there to play them."

Albion are on a sticky run at the moment having failed to win in six after earning promotion last season, but Dyche said: "I think Brighton are doing ever so well.

"I really like Chris, and have a lot of respect for him. I respect all managers but Chris is someone I have known a while, and he is a straight-up man. He calls it about right I think.

"I enjoy his company whenever I see him, and his wife is fantastic, a great character. I’ve met them at a few dinners and had a great time with them. I just think he goes about his business in a proper fashion. And his team equally.

"To get the knock of that season when they were up there all season only to fall away at the end, and then come up next season, all credit to them. And they have got good points on the board because it is very difficult in the Premier League."