BRIAN Laws has backed Andre Bikey to be the rock Burnley can build their promotion charge on.

The Cameroon international has starred in the Clarets’ opening two games after returning to his favoured centre half position, kicking off with the clean sheet against Nottingham Forest.

The amiable 25-year-old spent much of last season in the doldrums after being moved into central midfield.

But Bikey is beaming again after starting the new campaign leaner and meaner in his rightful role.

“He missed a fair chunk of football last season and when he played, a lot of time it was in midfield. But everyone agrees his best position without doubt is centre half,” said Burnley boss Laws.

“He feels more comfortable in there and he stands head and shoulders over people.

“He looks like he could be one of outstanding centre halves in the division.

“I know it’s early days but certainly Andre has taken everything on board.

“He’s eager to be at his best and FROM BACK PAGE has taken on extra work, he’s come in early in the morning and he is doing everything possible to make sure he is at his physical peak, which is great and encouraging.

“He has got a smile on his face, so let’s hope that continues.”

Bikey is on a mission to get to the peak of his powers after returning for pre-season training overweight.

The former Reading defender has already shed a few pounds but feels he still has more to lose to reach his target and help the Clarets’ achieve their promotion goal.

“I’ve still got two or three kilos to go to move my fitness forward and try to give the performance that everyone expects of me,” said Bikey, who celebrated the birth of his second daughter while on tour with the Clarets in Singapore.

“We’ve had two games and there have been good performances for me and for the team. It’s positive right now and the motivation is really high.

“We know we’ve got a team that can go back to the Premier League.”

And Bikey has received boosts for club AND country. After missing out on a place in the Cameroon squad for the World Cup finals, despite contributing to their qualification, he has received two quick call-ups for international duty.

Having featured in a recent friendly against Poland, he has been called up for the Indomitable Lions’ African Cup of Nations qualifier against Mauritius on September 4.

His Clarets’ team-mate, Martin Paterson, has been included in the Northern Ireland squad to face Slovenia in their opening European Championships’ qualifier on September 3.