FORMER Clarets defender Leon Cort returns to Turf Moor for the first time tomorrow with no regrets.
The 33-year-old was Brian Laws’ first signing in January 2010 as he looked to keep Burnley in the Premier League after Owen Coyle’s departure.
But the move turned sour as the Clarets were relegated, and Cort - a £1.5m buy from Stoke - would play only 20 games for the club, the last of which saw him concede a penalty before being sent off in a 4-0 defeat against Reading.
Loan spells at Preston and Charlton followed, before being released and sealing a permanent move to The Valley, and Cort looked back on his time in East Lancashire: “I’ve got no hard feelings with anyone at Burnley, it’s all in the past.
“It was a fantastic opportunity at the time to play in the Premier League at that stage of my career, and I’m glad I took it.
“But it’s hard to explain what happened.
“I had a terrible game against Reading - I hold my hands up - but before that, I’d had a run in the side and thought I’d done well.
“It was frustrating, the manager at the time didn’t communicate with me, and I ended up at Preston, and then Charlton.
“And it’s great to be back at this level, because I know I can still do a job in the Championship.”
After Laws’ departure, Eddie Howe took the reins, with the objective of reducing the wage bill, and again Cort found himself out in the cold once returning from Deepdale: “He told me when he came in he had other plans and he couldn’t offer me the opportunities I wanted, so I knew I would have to look elsewhere, and that chance came at Charlton.
“My family is down south, Charlton is a huge club, and it was nice to get promoted with them last season.
“Hopefully we can help get the club higher up the league where it belongs.”
Cort will face 20-goal Charlie Austin for the first time tomorrow in competitive action, though he was impressed with what he saw of him in training after his arrival from Swindon in January 2011: “Charlie is a very good player, a goalscorer, and we will certainly have to watch him.
“To score 20 goals before the end of November is fantastic, so we will have to defend well.”
Cort has two goals to his name himself this season, in a draw at Birmingham and a win at Blackpool - emphasising Charlton’s impressive away form.
And on the back of wins over then-leaders Cardiff and Bristol City, the Addicks are full of confidence: “We’ve done really well on the road.
“I know the league well, and anyone can beat anyone, but it will be a tricky game - Burnley are a good side.”