Michael Duff insists Burnley deserve the respect of their Championship rivals after spending two months at the summit.
The long-serving defender insists the squad must now deal with opposing teams changing their game plans to try and knock the Clarets off their lofty perch.
But Duff believes the Clarets are “in it for the long haul” as Sean Dyche’s men look to extend their unbeaten league run to 13 games at Huddersfield on Saturday.(3pm).
Duff said: “I would like to think we have earned some respect. After four or five games, or even eight or nine, people might have expected we would fall away.
“But the fact that Nottingham Forest raised their game against us - when, by all accounts, that was the best they have played – is a compliment.
“It’s something we can expect and have to deal with. We have shown enough to say we are in it for the long haul. Where we finish, nobody knows, but we are confident in what we are doing and we should take it as a compliment that people are starting to watch us and working out how to stop us playing.
“It’s common knowledge about the work ethic in the team, the distances we cover when we are pressing teams and the quality we have in the top areas of the pitch.
“It’s just a new challenge and something we have to deal with, so we’ll be looking to go to Huddersfield and put in a performance because we are top of the league and we want to stay there.”
Duff and Heaton applaud fans after the Clarets go top at Doncaster on October 1
The Clarets will be backed by a magnificent 3,600 travelling supporters at the John Smith’s Stadium, with tickets selling out earlier this week.
And Duff is confident that despite no new faces arriving at Turf Moor on loan deadline day to bolster the tightest-knit squad in the division, the Clarets have the quality to maintain their excellent recent form.
He said: “Anyone that comes in here needs to be the right character to fit in with this squad because it is a unique bunch, in regards to the demands we put on each other every day in training.
“There are no days off here. Sometimes you might be able to turn up at a club feeling tired, just jog around and almost hide in training.
“That doesn’t happen here. Every day is 100 per cent and we train as we play.
“We have done alright without anyone else so far, so hopefully we will carry on and do the same.
“We are confident in every game. It’s going to be tough, but we’ll have a good following at Huddersfield, so hopefully they will make some noise and we will give them a good result to go home with.
“It’s great that the supporters are getting on board. There is a real togetherness now, not only in the squad but also the supporters and the whole town, so hopefully we can keep the momentum building.”
Can’t make it to Huddersfield tomorrow? Clarets Player has full match commentary form 2.45pm with Phil Bird. CLICK HERE for more details.
And don’t forget the Clarets are back at Turf Moor for the first time in a month next Tuesday, when Watford are the visitors.
This is a BRONZE category game, with prices as below:
Adults: From £24
Over 65: From £14
U22: From £13
U18: from £5
U12: From £3
All sale tickets can be reserved in person at the ticket office, at the Clarets Store in town, by telephone on 0871 221 1914 (opt 1) or online HERE.
Flexi-Tickets are still available for purchase, click HERE for more details.
Tickets are available in person at the ticket office, via telephone on 0871 221 1914 (opt 1) and online by clicking HERE
Tickets can also be purchased in advance from the Clarets Store until 5pm daily during the week, or from the Clarets Store in Charter Walk until 5.30pm.