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​EXCLUSIVE: Burton midfielder Irvine denies 'substantial' offers as transfer deadline approaches

Burton Albion star Jackson Irvine insists his focus remains on the season ahead, despite speculation linking him with a move away from the club.

Last summer, the 24-year old became Burton's record-signing after two impressive seasons with Ross County in the Scottish Premiership.

One year later and the Australian is a target for a number of clubs including Brighton, Leeds United, Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Derby and Wolves. Even a big-money move to China was on the cards.

However, speaking exclusively to Tribalfootball, Irvine states that no concrete offers have arrived.

"Every transfer window nowadays a lot of names seem to get thrown around," said the Celtic youth product.

"The market is crazy at the moment so you can never truly be sure you won't move, but until anything real substantial takes shape then my preparation is always the same and at the moment that is to make sure my performances at Burton lead to us winning games."

Last month, Brewers boss Nigel Clough revealed the club would not stop in Irvine's way should an offer be lodged.

"When you score as many goals as him and play as well as he has done, speculation is inevitable," Clough told BBC.

"We're realistic. If an offer comes in - and it's the right offer - and Jackson feels that it's a step up in progress for him, then it's very difficult for us to stand in his way.

"It should all become clearer in the next month."

In his first Championship campaign, Irvine appeared in 42 of 46 league matches and scored an impressive 10 goals from midfield.

Even he knows that it will be difficult to exceed that total this season, but Irvine, who scored in Albion's 4-1 loss to Hull City, insists he is focused on trying to help his side by hitting the back of the net as much as possible.

"My goals for the season from a personal point of view is to try and continue to be consistent with my performances and hopefully continue to score and create goals," said Irvine.

"I don't know if I will get to double figures again but it was good to get off the mark for the season in the second game against Hull."

The East Staffordshire club, with a stadium capacity of just under 7,000, surprised everyone when they managed to just avoid the drop last season, finishing in 20th place, one point above relegated Blackburn.

Burton have won one match out of their first four in the Championship so far this season, and Irvine remains realistic about the club's goals for the 17/18 campaign.

"Our goal remains the same as last year, survival in the Championship has to be our immediate goal," he added.

"Once we have secured that we can look ahead but it is a long and ruthless season in this league and it will take another special season from us to make sure we stay up."

The Melburnian was rewarded for his efforts last season, having been included in the Australia squad for the Confederations Cup, which included a memorable start against the South American champions and Alexis Sanchez-led Chile.

"The Confederations Cup was an amazing experience. It was my first taste of a major Tournament at International first team level and I loved every second of it," reminisces Irvine.

"We were obviously disappointed that we didn't make it out of the group, especially after our performance against Chile [where Irvine started], but we showed that we can be capable of competing at the highest level and took big strides forward as a squad."

An Australian youth international at U20 and U23 level, Irvine made his debut for the Socceroos back in 2013 against Canada and has since gone on to garner 13 caps for his country.

Having recently been named in Ange Postecoglou's 23-man squad for the Socceroos World Cup pivotal qualifiers against Japan and Thailand, Irvine is hopeful he can play a part in helping secure qualification for Australia and book his ticket to Russia.

"It's always an honour to be named in any national team squad. I hope now I can make it into the final 23 and play my part in the upcoming games to ensure our place at a 4th successive World Cup.

"With the Thailand game being in Melbourne it adds an extra bit of incentive for me. I would love to have the chance to represent my country in front of my family and friends in my home city again."

Andrew Maclean
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Andrew Maclean

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