Football

Published: Tuesday April 22, 2014 MYT 1:22:41 AM
Updated: Tuesday April 22, 2014 MYT 1:22:41 AM

Burnley seal return to English Premier League

(Reuters) - Burnley secured a return to the English Premier League amid joyous scenes at Turf Moor on Monday when a 2-0 home victory over Wigan Athletic sealed automatic promotion from the Championship.

First-half goals from Ashley Barnes and Michael Kightly were enough for the Clarets to join Leicester City in the top-flight next season.

Fans invaded the pitch to celebrate after the final whistle while manager Sean Dyche was lifted into the air by jubilant players who embarked on a lap of honour.

"We were intent on getting promoted ourselves, not having to rely on anyone else for help. It's getting harder to win automatic promotion to the Premier League because of all the constraints on teams like ourselves. I'm extremely proud," Dyche told the BBC.

Burnley striker Danny Ings, who has formed a formidable partnership with Sam Vokes this season with the pair scoring 20 league goals apiece, added: "I'm so proud of all the lads. From pre-season to now they have been absolutely fantastic.

"Sam Vokes has been top class this year, it was a shame he was not out on the pitch today but he deserves it. People did not back us at the start of the season but it's been great to prove them wrong."

Burnley spent one season in the top-flight in 2009-10 before being relegated.

They can again look forward to visiting venues like Old Trafford and Anfield next season after reaching 89 points from 44 games, four behind leaders Leicester who have played one game less and look like being promoted as champions.

Derby County (81), Queens Park Rangers (76), Wigan (70) and Brighton & Hove Albion (66) occupy the playoff places.

Burnley enjoyed a remarkable start to life in their only Premier League season in 2009 - their first in the top-flight for 33 years - when after losing their opening game at Stoke City they beat champions Manchester United and Everton at Turf Moor.

But despite their impressive home form, Burnley struggled on their travels and after manager Owen Coyle departed for Bolton Wanderers in January, replacement Brian Laws was unable to stave off relegation as they eventually finished 18th.

(Reporting by Justin Palmer,; editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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