Burnley defender Taylor Harwood-Bellis has said that he’s ‘ready to play’ for the Clarets ahead of the final run in of the season.
The on-loan Manchester City defender has been sidelined since January after picking up a foot injury in the FA Cup clash against Bournemouth. Harwood-Bellis has played 26 games in the league so far, finding himself as one of the first names on the team sheet in the heart of defence before he sustained the foot injury.
The 21-year-old has returned to action lately, building his fitness wit Burnley’s U21 side ahead of a full return to the first-team which could come against Sunderland in the first game back after the international break. Speaking to the club about his comeback, the defender revealed he feels prepared to return to the first team and help the Clarets finish their charge on the Championship.
“I feel ready. I feel like I’m ready to play 90 minutes now, I’ve played the 45 and now the 75 and I have come through fine. I feel really good, my ankle and foot feels fine and I feel really good fitness wise, I just want to get back playing now.”
Straight back into the XI?
Despite his previous imperious form in the back-line and key role he played for Vincent Kompany, his boss may err on the side of caution given the youngster’s lengthy lay off, the position the Clarets have found themselves in, and the form of Jordan Beyer and Hjalmar Ekdal in his absence.
With Ekdal arriving in January to cover for the injured Stockport-born defender, he’s enjoyed a flourishing partnership with Beyer. Kompany may opt to keep the pair together with the duo’s future also seemingly more long-term at Turf Moor giving the reported option to buy in Beyer’s loan deal.
Burnley are 13 points clear at the top of the Championship, with just nine games left to play. The Clarets will need a dire collapse in form to fail to get the job done from here, with Harwood-Bellis’ inclusion over the remainder of the season one to keep an eye on as he battles back to match fitness.