Luton defender Burke happy to shake off injury problem and make impressive Hatters debut against Blades

Defender eager to keep his place in the Town side

By Mike Simmonds
Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 7:59 am
Updated Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 8:00 am
Reece Burke clears the danger against Sheffield United
Reece Burke clears the danger against Sheffield United

Town defender Reece Burke wants to build on his impressive debut against Sheffield United when the season resumes following the international break this weekend.

The 25-year-old had joined on a free transfer from Hull City in the summer opting to leave the Tigers despite their promotion back to the Championship.

However, an injury suffered before the campaign began kept Burke out of action, as he was finally able to return when the Blades visited Kenilworth Road for a goalless draw.

On getting the chance to show his new team-mates and supporters just what he could do, Burke said: “I really enjoyed it, I was glad to be back out there and get my debut.

“It’s been a frustrating start to the season.

“Picking up a little injury before the first game was a tough one to take, but I’m glad I’m back now and had a game I got through, so it’s positive for me.”

On just what had kept him out of action, the former West Ham youngster, with five Premier League appearances for the Hammers to his name, said: “I picked up a little strain in my quad the Thursday before the Peterborough game.

“It was a tough one to take at the time, I just had to make sure I got myself right for when I was fit.

“The difficult one is if the side’s doing well.

“It was, I’m not saying lucky, but obviously it (5-0 defeat to Birmingham City) wasn’t a great result for Luton and the gaffer wanted to make a few changes and I’m glad he put me in there.”

Speaking about his move to Luton when the deal had gone through, Burke stated that the Championship was a level he felt he belonged at.

The defender then backed that up in his first outing in the second tier since July 2020, excelling as part of Town’s back-line who were facing a side themselves a Premier League outfit last term.

On making the step back to the level after spending a year in League One with Hull, he said: “It was good and nice to get my first game back in the Championship.

“It’s not that last year was frustrating, but I do class myself as a Championship centre half, so it was good to be back out there and get more Championship experience under my belt.”

Burke's first outing also impressed manager Nathan Jones, who said: "I’m very, very pleased.

“He’s come in, very little training and I felt we needed a bit more size, a bit more aggression and he showed that, so I was pleased with him.”

Following a season running out in front of empty stadiums, Burke was happy to get the chance to experience a nearly sold out Kenilworth Road too, saying: “I had a little taster with the Portsmouth game pre-season, but it was good to play in front of the fans.

“It’s nice to have them back, it’s a big difference, they push the boys on as the game goes on, so it was good to see everyone back.”

Although eager to keep on playing after his stop-start beginning to the campaign, Burke hadn’t been too disappointed to have to wait a fortnight to go up against Blackburn Rovers this weekend.

When asked if the time off had been a frustration after just getting fit, he added: “Yes, but no at the same time.

“I managed to get through the game which was a positive and I felt good, but then it gives me a little bit more time to recover for the next game.”