Clarets gearing up for top-six push
Sean Dyche is backing his squad strength to keep the Clarets moving in the right direction as they prepare to take on promotion-chasing Crystal Palace at Turf Moor.
Burnley are likely to be missing top scorer Charlie Austin and Martin Paterson through injury, with midfield anchor Brian Stock absent through a one-match ban.
But Dyche has held off moving into the transfer market as he gives a chance to the current crop of players who could take the Clarets to within a point of the top six with a third win in four Championship games.
“We’ve had a couple of nice wins over Christmas and we are looking to build on that,” said the Burnley boss.
“You have to look at the group and barring a couple of twists of fate and a couple of iffy decisions we have done well.
“We can do better and we want to do better but they have staked a claim to get more points on the board than we have actually got.
“We are in pretty good shape, four points off the play-off zone, still looking upwards and still looking at it and still looking to get more on the table.
The Clarets are seeking a third win in four league games
“The group is attempting to show that it has the capabilities to do better.
“The challenge is to do better than what we are at the moment, that’s all you can do.
“At the moment we are having to work hard to get everything and I have said to them that’s the way football can be.
“No-one is going to give you points. You can’t control the decisions made by officials, you have to earn everything you get and we are having to do that, but I think that makes for a really good mentality.”
The Clarets felt they were on the end of another tough decision last weekend when Stock was shown the first of his two yellow cards at Barnsley.
With ten men for the best part of an hour Burnley crashed out of the FA Cup but that has at least left them fully focused on the final 20 Championship games of the season and a renewed push for a top-six place.
“That’s what the intention is,” said Dyche.
“You can’t guarantee it but we are working hard on the training pitch to go as far as we can to guarantee it, and go as far as we can to make sure performances stay good.
“I believe where performances are good that over a long period of time points come with it. That’s a base for us to work on.
“Performances have been pretty good since I’ve been here and we are always hungry for more and that will continue on a weekly basis until the end of the season and we will see what’s what.”
Palace will provide a useful yardstick for the Clarets’ credentials as they seek to cement their place in the play-off zone and keep in touch with the top two.
Ian Holloway’s side has lost only one of their last nine games but have won only twice during that run as speculation grows regarding a potential move for star winger Wilfried Zaha, who scored twice against the Clarets in a 4-3 win in October but was sent off at Turf Moor last season.
“They have got some fire power with Glenn Murray, who is scoring goals, and the two wide players who have been very productive for them,” Dyche added.
“There is a lot of talk about one of them with Zaha, but (Yannick) Bolasie has done well and there is talk about him as well so they have their share of challenges outside the field of play.
“But they have shown they can get points on the table. No two ways about it they will be another stiff challenge for us.
“But I think they all are, in all different ways. The bottom clubs are fighting to get out of there, the top are fighting to be at the top and we are fighting to do better, so everyone has their different challenges.”