Heaton to be the new number one

Last updated : 11 May 2013 By Tony Scholes
Dyche set for first signing

Until around three days before the end of the season there was never any real thought about a new goalkeeper for the Clarets. Things changed quickly when news started to filter through that Lee Grant could be set to return to first club Derby. That was all confirmed this week, two days after Brian Jensen revealed he hadn't been offered a new deal.

With the Clarets pursuing a new first choice goalkeeper the headlines were deflected away from that with the potential signing of Nick Liversedge from Whitby Town, but this morning came news that Dyche and Burnley are very close to landing Heaton.

He started his career at Old Trafford with United and has just enjoyed, if enjoyed is the right word, a season with Bristol City. Playing behind the least secure back four in the league he's been part of a team that has conceded 84 league goals and he's played in all but three of them.

He didn't play any competitive games for United but did make his first team bow for them at Turf Moor in Stan Ternent's testimonial in 2004. He went on to have a number of loans before leaving them three years ago. He went to Swindon, Cardiff, QPR, Rochdale and Wycombe, along with the almost obligatory spell with Royal Antwerp.

His debut in English football came for Swindon in the Carling Cup against Wycombe, saving a penalty in that game, and four days later he made his debut in a 4-2 home win against Yeovil.

He joined Cardiff on loan ahead of the 2008/09 season. Twice injury cost him his place in the team and he played in just under half of the games as they just missed out on the play offs. He didn't feature in either game against Burnley.

There were further loans at QPR, Rochdale and Wycombe during 2009/10 before Cardiff manager Dave Jones signed him permanently in the summer of 2010. This time he did play against Burnley, conceding a late Steven Thompson equaliser on our first ever visit to the new Cardiff City Stadium.

The arrival of Malky Mackay as manager changed things. David Marshall was brought in and Heaton was left with the scraps, mainly cup ties. That meant he was part of the Cardiff team that beat Burnley and went on to the final of the Carling Cup. Both games went to penalty shoot outs but they lost the final despite Heaton saving Steven Gerrard's spot kick.

He opted to leave Cardiff last summer and, recommended by Mackay, looked set to sign for Dyche at Watford. He pulled out of that move when Dyche was sacked and instead went to Bristol City where he's been the first choice goalkeeper for the league's bottom club.He signed a one year deal with an option of a further year but has decided not to take up that option.

Now aged 27, the Chester born Heaton has played 157 competitive games in England and now looks certain to become our new first choice goalkeeper and Dyche's first summer signing.