Shane Duffy signs on loan

Shane Duffy

Shane Duffy

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CLARETS boss Eddie Howe beat the emergency loan deadline on Thursday to land Everton centre back Shane Duffy for an initial 28 days.

The 19-year-old agreed a move to Turf Moor just over half an hour before the 5 p.m. cut-off mark, as Howe boosted his defensive options going into the final nine games of the season.

Howe is already looking at potentially landing the Republic of Ireland Under 21 international on an extended loan deal next season, and he said: “He’s a young player who has done very well this season for Everton’s reserves and he is a player with big potential.

“I’m delighted with the deal.

“It’s a double benefit in that it gives us a chance to look at him with a view to next season, but he also increases competition for places now and comes straight into the squad.

“We have got a lot of games in April.

“We will need to use the whole squad and Shane will add more depth.”

Burnley have eight games in April, and Duffy will look to play a part as the Clarets look to earn a place in the play-offs.

Howe had enjoyed the luxury of a settled defence, naming the same back five for his first 13 games, before bringing Andre Bikey in for Michael Duff last time out at Bristol City - on the back of two disappointing home displays against Millwall and Coventry City.

But Duffy’s arrival gives him another option ahead of Saturday’s visit of Ipswich Town, where he will be forced into another change, with Danny Fox suspended after collecting 10 yellow cards.

Duffy was a second half substitute for Ireland’s Under 21s as they lost 2-0 in Portugal on Friday, and he will link up with the Clarets this week.

He joined Everton’s Academy as a 16-year-old from Foyle Harps, and after progressing through the ranks, he made his first-team debut in a Europa League tie against AEK Athens in December, 2009.

He made one further senior appearance for the Toffees in the competition later the same month against BATE Borisov, and was named as Everton’s reserve team player of the year before suffering a life-threatening injury on international duty last May.

Having represented Northern Ireland up to under-21 and ‘B’ level, the County Derry born defender switched allegiance to the Republic of Ireland in February, 2010.

After being called into the Ireland squad for a training camp three months later, Duffy suffered a freak injury which saw him sever an artery near his liver and require life-saving surgery.

He has since fully recovered, and after returning in pre-season at the start of the current campaign, he has been a regular for the reserves at Goodison Park and has featured on the bench eight times at first-team level for David Moyes’ side.

Meanwhile, Jack Cork and Nathan Delfouneso were expected to start for England Under 21s last night against Iceland at Deepdale.

The pair were late substitutes in the 4-0 win over Denmark in Viborg on Thursday, as Danny Welbeck, Scott Sinclair, Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson all found the net.

Despite a spate of withdrawals before and after the game in Denmark, Jay Rodriguez, on standby in the initial squad, was not called upon.