Coyle hails captain Caldwell

Clarets boss delighted to welcome back skipper from injury

Coyle: Caldwell admiration

Coyle: Caldwell admiration

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Burnley boss Owen Coyle has hailed the influence of Steven Caldwell as he prepares to welcome back his captain from injury.

Caldwell has been out for six weeks with a groin injury he sustained on international duty with Scotland so it yet to make his first Premier League appearance for the Clarets.

But the 29-year-old defender came through a reserve game against Hull City on Wednesday and could be recalled for Saturday's home match against Birmingham.

Caldwell has been a lynchpin in the Clarets defence since signing from Sunderland in January 2007 and Coyle will be delighted to have him back.

"He played an hour in a reserve game last night and acquitted himself very well, as he always does," he told Sky Sports News.

"He certainly gave us food for thought and comes into our thinking. He has been out for six weeks so we have to recognise that as well.

Integral

"But he's been an integral part of what we're doing at this football club and it'll be great to have him back fully fit.

"He's my captain for a number of reasons," Coyle added.

"One, for what he does on the pitch, which he has done from day one for me, and two, for the way he carries himself and conducts himself.

"He's a leader, both on and off the park, and that's the type we want at this football club."

Despite Caldwell's absence, Burnley have made a positive start on their long-awaited return to the top flight.

The Clarets have become the first promoted side to win their first three Premier League home games since Blackburn 17 years ago, beating Everton, Sunderland and champions Manchester United.

The Lancashire outfit have had little joy on their travels, though, suffering heavy defeats at Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham after losing their opener at Stoke.

But Coyle insists that does not place any extra emphasis on Burnley maintaining their terrific start at Turf Moor as they host Alex McLeish's Birmingham, who were also promoted from the Championship last season.

Pressure

"We're under the same pressure, if pressure's the word you want to use," Coyle said.

"You want to win matches and you want to pick up points, no matter if it's home or away.

"We have nine points already and that's more than a lot of people envisaged because we were written off at the start of the season.

"I've said before I've no problem with people's opinion. I think we've disproved some people to this point but it's so early in the season that there's a lot of work ahead of us and we know that.

"But we'll go to try to win each and every game, and Saturday will be no different.

"It'll be a tough game. Alex is a personal friend of mine and I've got a lot to thank him for in my own career, as he knows.

"But he knows I'll be going all out to win it, as he will. It's two teams that were probably both written off at the start of the season.

"At the moment we're holding our own in mid-table positions and both of us will be looking to push on."