OWEN Coyle walks into tomorrow’s fiery derby clash hoping to finally bury the hatchet with his former club Burnley.
Wanderers kick off their Championship campaign with a testing trip to Turf Moor, where strong grudges are still held after the Scot’s controversial exit two-and-a-half years ago.
Coyle insists he has a clear conscience over his decision to move to the Reebok and believes enough water has now passed under the bridge for both clubs to move on.
“All I will ever have are good feelings for Burnley Football Club,” he said. “Yes, there was a furore when I left but people close to me know there was loads of stuff I could have said but I didn’t. I kept my own counsel.
“I know what happened word for word and minute by minute, and I’m comfortable, so that says a lot.
“We’re going to a club I know well, and one that has a fantastic support. I enjoyed special times there. Whatever Saturday brings, it brings. It’s coming up for nearly three years now but whether water has passed under the bridge will probably be up to the individual.
“My focus is on making sure my players are ready to play the game.”
Former Burnley chairman Barry Kilby admitted recently that Coyle’s departure had left a shadow over the club which took relegation from the Premier League and an ill-feted stint under the charge of Brian Laws to clear.
But Coyle – who took the club into the Premier League and the Carling Cup semi-final – reckons his opposite number Eddie Howe has now got the Clarets moving back in the right direction.
“Watching how he’s progressed it’s clear he’s got a good eye for a player and looks a very good coach,” he said.
“They are well set to improve again and get to the level we all want to be.”
Coyle will not be alone in running the gauntlet, with Chris Eagles and Tyrone Mears making their first return to Burnley since leaving the club last summer.
“It might be slightly different for us because of how we left but those two players were a credit to Burnley Football Club,” Coyle said.
“Chris Eagles played a huge part in getting Burnley to the Premier League and Tyrone came in that summer and was arguably one of the best and most consistent players in the team when I was there.”