BURNLEY defender Jimmy Dunne is hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow Claret Kevin Long and make the transition from Accrington Stanley loanee to Turf Moor regular.

Irishman Dunne is currently on loan at the Wham Stadium and has made seven appearances for John Coleman’s side in League Two since joining last month.

The 20-year-old has forced his way into the starting XI and has won praise from the Reds boss for his displays.

This season’s goal for Stanley is promotion while Dunne’s longer term objectives lie back at Burnley, and the career path of Long can act as an inspiration.

The 27-year-old played 39 times for the Reds over three separate and, after loan spells at Rochdale, Portsmouth, Barnsley and MK Dons, is now in and around Sean Dyche’s starting side at Burnley having made 12 appearances for the Clarets this term, as well as making the breakthrough into the Republic of Ireland squad.

And Dunne, who was on loan at National League side Barrow earlier this term and has helped Stanley to third place in the table, can see the benefits of a spell in the fourth tier.

“I spoke to Kevin and he did do similar things,” he told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“He went on loan a couple of times and developed himself. He’s an Irishman, he’s now played for his country and played in the Premier League. He’s someone I can look up to.

“There’s a pathway there, absolutely.”

The move to Stanley means Dunne can remain based in East Lancashire, something he believes will help him settle in on and off he pitch.

He added: “It’s got to help, it means I can still go into Gawthorpe and see everyone and work with the facilities there as well.

“I’m not driving an hour and a half every day so it’s got to be beneficial.”

Dunne joined Burnley in the summer of 2016 following his release from Manchester United and has featured for the Clarets’ Under-23 squad, managed by former Turf stalwart Michael Duff.

And Dunne, yet to make a first team appearance for the Clarets, believes having a fellow centre back as his manager at Under-23 and first team level at Burnley is helping him develop his game.

He added: “It’s massive that Duffo was a centre back himself.

“And the route he went through - he played non-league football, League Two, League One and worked himself all the way up to the top as well.

“It’s someone again I can look up to try to do the same.

“Any advice I can get off Duffo is valuable. He’ll have loads of advice for me and I’ll be under his wing, absolutely.”

On Dyche, Dunne added: “He was a defender who was all about defending. They always highlight the importance of defending.”

Dunne has started Stanley’s last five games and the methods instilled by Dyche and eulogised by James Tarkowski and Ben Mee, are already showing in his performances.

The Turf boss has always spoken of defenders defending first and foremost and Dunne is keen to follow the same pattern.

He added: “I think doing the ugly stuff is the side of my game I’m really trying to develop and it’s most important as a centre back. I know Burnley think so.

“When I develop that then maybe I can start looking at the more fashionable side of things but for now I’m just looking to develop my defending.”