8:00am Thursday 16th January 2014
By Craig Stoddart
FULHAM are considering keeping former Darlington defender Dan Burn at Craven Cottage despite Birmingham City wanting to re-sign him on loan.
Boss Rene Meulensteen was impressed with 21-year-old Burn's composed performance as he made his senior home debut in Tuesday's 3-0 FA Cup third-round replay victory over Norwich City.
It was his second game for Fulham, his first earlier this month triggered a clause in his contract which meant Quakers received a £75,000 payment.
Darlington will receive more money if the Blyth-born defender reaches a certain amount of first-team appearances, so Meulensteen's words of praise will be well received by Quakers.
The Dutch boss has admitted Fulham will weigh up whether to send the former Quakers centre-back out on another loan, or pitch him into league action with the Cottagers.
"Dan's been a breath of fresh air. He did well in the Norwich away game," the Fulham manager said.
"Him staying here now is definitely something we're going to review, definitely.
"That's a different challenge from playing at home, but he's matured a lot in Birmingham where he had a very good loan spell.
"And next to Brede Hangeland he looked extremely comfortable.
"The only way that I keep them apart is that he's right footed and Dan's left footed.
"You work with him on the pitch - it's great for someone like Dan to have Brede coming back from that injury so they can work together.
"Dan is a very bright boy, he's not afraid to speak his mind, he talks, and that's the sort of thing you look at, and it was a very positive performance from him."
Blyth-born Burn made 28 appearances in his loan stint at Birmingham in the first half of the season, before being recalled by Meulensteen on January 2.
Blues boss Lee Clark remains keen on another loan deal for Burn.
Meanwhile, Darlington supporters have been praised for turning up in their droves to watch last weekend's win at Harrogate Railway Athletic.
Although the match was Darlington's shortest away journey of the season, the crowd of 1,026 exceeded estimations and the vast majority left happy after seeing promotion-chasing Quakers win for the eighth time in their last nine games.
Prior to the game, Darlington officials had advised police to expect around 500 fans, but the game saw an estimated 900 make the trip from the North-East, swelling a crowd that represented the Yorkshire club's highest since winning promotion in 2006. The Railwaymen's average before Saturday was 94.
Speaking to the official league website, Harrogate secretary Mike Sunley said: "Our committee were unsure of how many were going to turn up when most of us were thinking in the region of between 450 to 650 judging by the average away gates they have had this season.
"We were told that about two to three hundred would be attending but we never expected anything like this - they just kept coming through the gates and it never stopped until just before the kick-off.
"At any level of football, except maybe the Premier League and Championship, it was a magnificent turnout by the Darlington fans and a credit to their club. There wasn't any trouble of any kind and again they were a fantastic credit to Darlington FC."
He added: "Our average gate is only 94 so I also have to mention too that it was a truly a magnificent effort by all the staff and volunteers of Harrogate Railway who helped to manage and cope with such a large crowd on the day."
Darlington are now nine points off the top as Curzon returned to pole position by winning one of their games in hand on Tuesday, beating third-bottom Wakefield 3-2.
Quakers are at bottom-of the table Ossett Albion on Saturday while they return to Heritage Park on January 25 when they face Cammell Laird.
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