Bittersweet welcome back for old friends

THE Burnley old boys will have gone away from Turf Moor on Tuesday feeling happier than the home side.

It was a case of being brought down to earth after Charlie Austin’s hat-trick rounded off the 5-1 away thumping of Portsmouth and it is of concern that the Clarets haven’t managed back-to-back league victories in 2012, after ending 2011 in fine form.

In truth this season is a learning curve for the young players, for whom another experienced head, especially in defence, would help, although I am not advocating a policy of signing too many grey hairs.

So while it was nice for Burnley fans to welcome back two of their Wembley heroes of 2009 back to Burnley, it proved a bittersweet experience.

Skipper and scorer as Burnley headed for the Premier League, Steven Caldwell and Wade Elliott, were in the Birmingham ranks on Tuesday as Burnley fans found themselves missing both even though they are not as young as they were.

Caldwell, whose speed became a factor in the Prem, at Championship level would now fill exactly the experienced central defence role from which the stars of the near future, such as David Trippier, Ben Mee and David Edgar (older than the others, but not by a lot) could learn a thing or two.

I mean that in a positive way. This hasn’t been a bad season, after a period of upheaval and I would hope there will be more good work done by Eddie Howe and his team through the rest of the season and summer.

Let’s hope Friday’s match (not easy with Brighton visiting) turns out to be a good’ un and supporters can go into Easter celebrating.