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In focus: Kevin Long

24 March 2016 takes an in-depth look at defender Kevin Long, who has joined the Dons on an emergency loan until the end of the season...

Born in Cork, Long began his career with Cork City and signed professional terms with the Leesiders in January 2008.

He made his League of Ireland debut for the Munster club as a second-half substitute in their 3-0 win over St. Patricks Athletic in September 2009. Long went on to feature 16 times for Cork that campaign, scoring his first senior goal in a 2-1 win against Dundalk.

In November of the same year, Long agreed to join Burnley on a four-year deal, a move which was made official once the transfer window opened in January 2010. He played 10 times for the Clarets’ reserves during the second half of the campaign.

Long, while still awaiting his first appearance for Burnley, joined League 2 side Accrington Stanley on loan in October 2010.

Despite being sent off on his debut, the Irishman did enough during his initial spell to have his deal extended for the remainder of the campaign. He finished the 2010/11 season with 17 appearances to his name, helping Stanley reach the League 2 play-offs.

Long re-joined Accrington at the start of the 2011/12 season and scored three goals in 25 games for the Lancashire club before returning to parent club Burnley in January ahead of a move to League 1 outfit Rochdale.

He made his Dale debut in a 3-0 win at Bury and helped them keep two clean sheets in his first four games. He made a total of 16 appearances for Rochdale in the second half of the campaign.

At the beginning of the 2012/13 campaign, Long enjoyed a spell on loan at Portsmouth where he made five appearances before a back injury saw him return to Turf Moor.

Long featured on Burnley’s first-team bench twice during September before making his long-awaited debut for the Clarets as a substitute in their 3-3 draw with Sheffield Wednesday in October 2012.

He made his first Championship start for Burnley two months later but it wasn’t until February when he broke through and established himself in Sean Dyche’s first team. In the final three months of the campaign, he made 12 starts for the Clarets.

The following campaign, Burnley remained part of the first-team fold at Turf Moor, adding 11 more senior appearances to his name en route to helping the Lancashire club win promotion to the Premier League as champions.

It was during the 2013/14 campaign when Long scored his first goal for Burnley – a close-range header – in an FA Cup tie at Southampton.

Long was a regular on the bench during the first-half of the 2014/15 Premier League season, before making his top flight debut off the bench in a 3-3 draw at Newcastle United in January 2015.

However, the centre-back suffered a knee injury 20 minutes after coming on at St. James’s Park, one which ruled him out for the remainder of the campaign.

After recovering from the injury late last year, Long joined League 1 side Barnsley on loan in November and scored on his debut for the Tykes – an 89th minute winner.

He extended his stay at Oakwell for a further month in December before doing the same in January as he continued to impress. He returned to Burnley in February after featuring 13 times in total for Barnsley and scoring two goals.

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