Under-23s secure deal for defender Cooney

Promotion-winning defender Ryan Cooney has moved up the M66 to join the Claret ranks.

The former Bury youngster – who made 29 first-team appearances for the Shakers – has signed an initial 12-month deal with a further one-year option.

And he will start out as part of Steve Stone’s Under-23 squad as their second new arrival so far this summer following the earlier arrival of former Curzon Ashton defender Joel Senior.

Manchester-born Cooney – a right-sided defender or wing-back capable of playing across the back four – came through the youth ranks at Gigg Lane before signing a first professional contract with Bury in October, 2018.

His first-team debut came in August, 2017 and the 19-year-old went on to make 14 appearances in the 2017/18 campaign.

Cooney then played 15 times at first-team level last season, including nine times in League Two as cash-strapped Bury defied off-the-field problems to win promotion back from League Two at the first attempt and six times in the Checkatrade Trophy to help the Shakers reach the semi-finals.

“Playing in the first-team has been good experience and the way we went about it to get promotion, we didn’t let anything affect us,” said Cooney.

“As a group we knew we were good enough to get where we wanted to and we achieved it.

“It’s tough to leave Bury in some ways, to say that I’ve been there since the age of nine. But I think now is the time to move on elsewhere and come to a good club like Burnley.

“This is a Premier League and that’s where you want to be.

“It’s a great opportunity with everything there is here. I need to focus back on the Under-23s, rather than the first team, and carry on, work hard and keep improving myself.

“I’m looking forward to getting up to match-fitness sharp and then it’s time to crack on and see what I can do.”

The arrival of Cooney – a former team-mate of Clarets’ U23s striker Rob Harker at Bury – will increase the defensive options in Stone’s squad, which is likely to be further strengthened before the season starts.

And the arrival of new faces will also allow players to be loaned out – as planned – to gain first-team experience at some stage during the season.

|Words: Pete Oliver |Photo: Andy Ford/Burnley FC

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