Boro let Ball out on loan

BY foxsports • February 21, 2013

Kevin Long hopes his nomadic existence in the loan market is at an end and he can become a regular fixture in the Burnley first-team.

Long played his third game for the Clarets, making a first start for two months in Tuesday's goalless draw with Middlesbrough - a decision that came as a welcome surprise from boss Sean Dyche.

"I found out just before the game, about an hour before kick-off," he said.

"He usually names the team the day before but for some reason he left it to just before the game.

"All I can do is help keep a clean sheet and I've done that so hopefully I'll stay in the team."

Three consecutive loan spells with Accrington were followed by stints at Rochdale and Portsmouth for the 22-year-old Irishman.

Although this was not part of Long's plan to establish himself in English football, he feels the time away from Turf Moor has been vital to his development.

"It was tough when you keep going away and there's new players coming in all the time but I've been around the club now nearly all this season so I feel a lot more settled," he added.

"I didn't envisage it would be like this - I thought I'd just go straight into the team! But I needed the loan spells to gain experience.

"It was a much quicker pace (than I was used to) and when I came over I was very raw. I needed to work on a lot of things and the loan spells gave me a lot to work on."

Martis initially joined Rovers on loan from Barclays Premier League side West Brom in 2008 and became an instant hit with the fans, but injury cut short his stay in south Yorkshire and the Dutchman returned to The Hawthorns.

In January 2010, then-manager Sean O'Driscoll signed Martis on a permanent basis on a three-and-a-half-year deal.

He went on to make 70 appearances for Rovers, scoring three goals along the way.

But after only managing 12 starts this season, the club and player have decided to part company.

The Northern Ireland Under-21 international joined Boro from Norwich in the summer but has found first-team opportunities hard to come by.

"As a youngster you do want to go out and play men's football and this will give me the opportunity to go out and get that experience," he told Boro's website.

"I watched them on Saturday against Hayes and Yeading and they won 4-1 - they're a very attacking side which I like and they pass the ball quite well so hopefully I fit in with them."

"I spoke to their manager on Saturday as well, he introduced me to all of the players and I spoke to him and he outlined what he wants from me and how his team plays."

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