CLARETS boss Sean Dyche returns to where his professional career began tomorrow.
But there is no time for sentimentality as he tries to extend Burnley’s unbeaten run at Nottingham Forest.
Dyche spent three years at the City Ground, starting as an apprentice before turning professional in 1989.
However, he joined Chesterfield in 1990 without making an appearance for the Reds.
Assistant boss Ian Woan - a big favourite - and coach Tony Loughlan are also Forest old boys, and Dyche is looking forward to going back: “I obviously have fond memories of Forest - I started out there as a young professional, although I never actually broke into the first team, which was a shame.
“I spent my formative years there though, and Ian and Tony both played - Ian had 10 years in the first team.
“I got the chance to go and play first team football at Chesterfield, and once I’d tasted that, I didn’t want to go back to the reserves.
“I started there as a midfielder - a bit of a tricky Trev!
“But there were players like Steve Stone, Gary Charles, Steve Chettle, Lee Glover coming through - the competition was immense.”
He is only focussed on building on three games without a defeat, however.
He has won three, draw two and lost two of his seven games at the helm, and feels the side are showing excellent signs of progress: “We could be unbeaten in all those games but for a couple of refereeing decisions, but there are some really good signs - we can take something from all the performances, even at Barnsley, which was the softest, but we got a point.
“Everything culminated in a really good performance on Sunday in the derby, which was good on the eye, and in terms of the statistics.
“We had 24 efforts, with 13 on target, and were dominant.
“We’re are a constant work in progress, but the signs are very positive.
“We’re building a strong mentality, physicality and with quality.”
Burnley have not been as prolific interms of goals scored - seven in seven - but defensively the side have conceded only five in that time, and he added: “As a group we have effected the defensive side of things, but that hasn’t come at the expense of creating a lot of chances.
“We out-shot Charlton 10 v 11, and on Sunday we worked their goalkeeper and their centre halves.
“The problem is there are 11 players trying to stop you doing what you do, but I’ve been really pleased with the performances, and the important part is that the fans can see what we’re trying to achieve.”
The club has suffered a blow this week with the news that defender Ben Mee picked up a medial ligament strain during the derby draw with Blackburn.
He picked up the injury following a late challenge from Colin Kazim-Richards in the first half, but managed to complete the 90 minutes, and Dyche said: “It’s a real shame, Ben was going along nicely.
“He got hurt in the first half but managed to play on, and in hindsight that wouldn’t have helped things, but he’s a brave and honest lad and got through what was a big game.
“We are hoping it will be sooner, rather than later, but we are expecting it will be weeks, rather than days.”
“Again, it’s a great opportunity for someone else now though.”
Burnley have only lost one league game with Mee in the side so far this season - at Crystal Palace.
While Mee may be on the sidelines for a spell, Keith Treacy is now up to speed and ready for selection.
The Republic of Ireland international has only made two appearances so far this season, but was in the squad for the game against his former club Blackburn - although he didn’t make the 18, and Dyche said: “Keith is working hard and has been very good around the place.
“He’s improved his level of fitness and was back in the squad on Sunday.
“He’s training and going well, and we’re monitoring him closely, as we do all the players, and making sure he is ready to make an impact.”
Another wide player who will shortly be available to Dyche is Dane Richards, who joins the club officially on New Year’s Day from Vancouver Whitecaps, but will be linking up with the side shortly after the end of the MLS season last weekend: “We’re tidying up the details of that one, but he’s had a break after Vancouver didn’t make the play-offs, and we’re looking forward to him coming in.”