BURNLEY defender Jimmy Dunne has joined League One promotion chasers Sunderland on loan for the rest of the season.

The 21-year-old came through 90 minutes for the Clarets Under-23s in Monday’s defeat to Sheffield Wednesday having recovered from an ankle injury which curtailed what had been a successful loan spell at Scottish Premiership side Hearts.

The Irishman returned to East Lancashire in November having made 14 appearances north of the border and, having spent the second half of last season on loan with Accrington Stanley, the centre back is keen to keep playing football.

And Sunderland, in the thick of a League One promotion chase, have won the race for Dunne’s signature.

Speaking about his move Dunne said: “I’m very excited to be here. I’m looking to step up and keep developing my game, so this is a good place for me to do that.

“The lads here have been on a good run and I’ve been lucky to be in a team where we’ve been winning as well, so long may both continue.

“I didn’t have anything to think about, there were 46,000 people here on Boxing Day and that just grabs you."