Kevin Ball

Ball reflects on useful afternoon

Published:
by Stuart Vose

U21 coach on Burnley win and Laing's progress.

Kevin Ball was pleased to see Louis Laing make his long-awaited first start since October as the development squad ran out 2-1 winners at Burnley.

Defender Laing has endured an injury-hit campaign but played the opening 45 minutes at Turf Moor following a brief run-out as a substitute at Fulham last week.

It was great to see Louis back – he’s had a horrendous time with injuries

- Ball on Laing

“It was great to see Louis back – he’s had a horrendous time with injuries,” Ball said.

“This season’s been very difficult for him. He was doing smashing until getting injured at Stoke, and when he came back at Christmas someone stood on his foot in training.

“We gave him a bit of time off the bench at Fulham but it was good to see him come through a full 45.”

Laing is the only one of a number of players with long-term injuries to return so far, with the likes of John Egan, Connor Oliver and Jordan Watson still sidelined.

“It’s good for Louis to get a feel of the ball before the end of the season and also feel that unity of being within the group again,” Ball added.

“Louis has done it [returned to action] but unfortunately or one two others haven’t been able to, and we’re disappointed for them.”

The game was arranged to give the youngsters some more match action following last week’s final game of the league campaign at Fulham.

Going back to Burnley brought back great memories for me too and they looked after us really well

- Ball on Turf Moor return

They had to overturn an early 1-0 deficit, but goals from Alex Gorrin and Ryan Noble secured victory on Ball’s return to his former club.

“Playing at Turf Moor was a nice opportunity for the lads and the game was fine,” he explained.

“We conceded a poor goal from a corner – they switched off and I wasn’t best pleased.

“We went in at half time flirting with playing well, and we questioned a few of them regarding their attitude.

“Of course we want to finish on a high and do things the right way, which we did in the second half.

“Alex made a great run for his goal and Ryan finished well for his. He deserved the goal as he worked very hard and had numerous chances – he’ll probably be disappointed not to have scored more.

“Going back to Burnley brought back great memories for me too and they looked after us really well. It was a beneficial exercise.”