JIMMY Dunne made his Clarets return as Burnley Under-23s suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday Under-23s on Monday afternoon.

The centre back spent the first half of the season on loan at Scottish Premiership side Hearts and impressed north of the border.

The 21-year-old forced his way into the senior Republic of Ireland squad before an ankle injury curtailed his Tynecastle spell in November.

He returned to Turf Moor and, now fully fit, gave a composed performance at the heart of the Clarets back four.

The youngster, who spent time on loan at Accrington Stanley last season, could now leave Burnley on loan again in the second half of the season given the depth of centre back options available to boss Sean Dyche.

Ben Mee, James Tarkowski, Ben Gibson and Kevin Long are all ahead of Dunne, who is well thought of at Turf Moor, in the pecking order and the Irishman may well see a second loan spell of the season as the best way to aid his development.

He came through 90 minutes unscathed at Curzon Ashton’s Tameside Stadium in the Professional Development League Division Two clash but couldn’t stop his team falling to a narrow loss.

Burnley shaded the opening 20 minutes but clear cut chances were at a premium in the driving rain,

And it was Wednesday who broke the deadlock with their first real chance of the game. Ben Hughes advanced into the box and fired into the far corner past Adam Legzdins.

Tinashe Chakwana came close to an instant reply for Burnley when he met Rob Harker’s cross inside the six-yard box but visiting keeper Cameron McCulloch kept his effort out.

The Clarets continued to press and Harker drove a shot just past the far post before Tunde Bayode sliced an effort high and wide when well placed in the box.

Haworth looked the man most likely for Burnley and his powerful effort was deflected over just before the break as the home side went into the interval a goal down.

Wednesday came close to adding a second early in the second half when Jordan Preston flashed a shot just past the far post after neat build-up.

But that was as close as the visitors came to adding a second with Burnley doing most of the pressing.

Harker and Josh Benson came close while Ali Koikoi saw a shot well blocked as the Owls held out to take the points.

Clarets: Legzdins, Cropper, Koikoi, Benson, Dunne, Glennon, Bayode, Howarth, Harker (Fowler 75), Agyei, Chakwana (Kershaw 71) Subs not used: Bruce, Cook, Harris