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Heaton fully committed to Clarets

first_img Burnley were relegated to the Sky Bet Championship last weekend despite recording a 1-0 win over rivals Hull. The Clarets play their final home game of a roller coaster season on Saturday when they welcome Stoke to Turf Moor. “That’s certainly my appetite and that of individuals. We can start building momentum now in the next two games and get ready for the new season. “Probably at other teams it’s felt a bit more parted but certainly this dressing room isn’t like that. There’s still that togetherness.” Burnley have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the visit of Stoke. Forward Sam Vokes is expected to return from the thigh injury that has kept him out for the last three matches. Midfielder Dean Marney, who signed a 12-month contract extension on Friday, remains sidelined with a long-term knee injury and defender Kevin Long is unavailable for the same reason. Stoke boss Mark Hughes has reiterated his desire to keep goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and denied reports of a contract dispute. The Bosnia-Herzegovina international will enter the final year of his current deal this summer and there has been much speculation about his future. Hughes has often stated that club and player plan to discuss the situation at the end of the season, but that has not prevented rumours that talks have stalled over wage demands. Begovic has also been linked with Manchester United and Liverpool recently, with stories fuelled by the player’s lack of participation in the Potters’ last two games. Hughes says he has been fulfilling a pledge to allow England Under-21 international Jack Butland some game time late in the campaign, but he admits Begovic asked not to be on the bench. The 27-year-old instead took the opportunity to undergo what Hughes described as a “slight procedure”, but he could be back in action at Burnley. Hughes said: “My view on it hasn’t changed. I want Asmir to stay here. We can offer him a good option. We feel we are progressing and we want him to be part of that. “We are conscious that he is in the last year of his contract, so we are wary of that. “Financial demands will always be part of the discussion, but I don’t think that would be something that would affect anything we would be looking to do with him. “We haven’t had those talks yet but once we do at the end of the season then hopefully we can get a quick and happy resolution. “We want Asmir to keep progressing as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League here. I am very hopeful of being able to agree something with him and his representatives.” Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross is likely to miss out with a knee injury but f ellow defender Marc Wilson is available again after suspension. Tom Heaton wants to see out his contract at Burnley and help the Clarets bounce straight back into the Barclays Premier League. Although Burnley have conceded 53 goals this season, Heaton has been one of their best performers and that has not gone unnoticed by other clubs, it seems. Newcastle and Everton – among others – have been linked with a move for the former Manchester United goalkeeper, but he does not seem ready to jump ship any time soon. “It’s been fantastic in the Premier League but I’ve had a fantastic time at Burnley this season and last,” Heaton said. “I’ve got two years left here and I’m thoroughly enjoying it, so the focus is 100 per cent on Burnley.” Sean Dyche has only spent around £8million this season so most of the players that helped Burnley get promoted last year remain at the club. Heaton believes the unity and spirit within the squad will help them in their bid to return to the big time at the first opportunity. “The important thing is we bounce back quickly with the appetite and motivation to get back to the Premier League,” the 29-year-old said. “There’s more than enough ability in that squad to get straight back up there and compete again next year. Press Associationlast_img read more

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Claudio Ranieri urges Leicester to continue to ‘run, run, run’ like Forrest Gump

first_imgClaudio Ranieri has told Leicester to keep their title charge running – as he compared them to Forrest Gump. The boss wants the Foxes to maintain the pace at the top and likened their stamina to Tom Hanks’ film character who ran across America. The Foxes will be top on Christmas Day just 12 months after being bottom of the Barclays Premier League. Leicester will beat Ranieri’s pre-season points target of 40 with a win at Anfield and the boss has already said he will sit down with his squad to re-evaluate their goals. He added: “I am very proud for my players and for my fans. It is fantastic b ut we have to work some more. “Now they are dreaming and I don’t want to wake them up.” They go to Liverpool on Boxing Day and then host title rivals Manchester City on Tuesday having lost just once this season. Ranieri replaced Nigel Pearson in the summer and feels the Foxes can last the marathon season. He said: ” I am very confident because Leicester, last season, saved themselves in the last two months and that means the stamina is fantastic. Why can’t we continue to run, run, run? We are like Forrest Gump. “The players know we are doing well but we haven’t achieved anything. “If I understand correctly, Leicester were never top of the league at this time so we are very happy. When the manager and the players make the fans happy then this is fantastic. “I looked at the start of the season and thought these games were unbelievable – that over Christmas we had a very big rock. “But now we are only concentrating on Liverpool, then when we’ve finished that match we will concentrate on the next. “Liverpool have started very well with (Jurgen) Klopp, so whether they win, lose or draw they are a very hungry team and they fight.” Press Associationlast_img read more

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