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Heaton: We've Got Staying Power

2 September 2013

Penalty hero Tom Heaton insists that the weekend win at Derby is proof that the Clarets have staying power.


Sean Dyche’s tight-knit squad moved into third place in the Championship after bouncing back form their controversial defeat at Brighton to chalk up a fourth straight victory at Pride Park.


And Heaton, who ended a topsy-turvy week by returning to action and saving a crucial penalty against the Rams, believes Burnley gave the potential to be the surprise package of the division.


He said: “We are really pleased with the start. I think it’s been progress since the start of pre-season and even in the one defeat we’ve had at Brighton we were right in the game until my sending off.


“It shows the mentality of the players and staff that we’ve had no hangover from that game, put in a great performance in midweek against Preston and followed that up with a win at Derby.


“It shows we have quality in the squad and third place is superb, but we need to keep going and keep the standards high to keep moving in the right direction.


“It’s about progression, as the manager keeps saying. We keep getting better and hopefully we can last the full season and stay up there.”


Heaton insisted he was as surprised as anyone at the penalty decision at Derby, where Jason Shackell clearly won a tackle against Chris Martin, only to concede a spot kick.


The former Bristol City stopper said: “At the time I didn’t think it was a penalty and having seen it again later it definitely wasn’t!

“But you have to get on with it and I was felt confident I could pull out the save and thankfully did.


“It was an interesting one because I almost dived beyond it and ended up having to claw it out and thankfully we survived.”


He added: “Penalties are something I try to pride myself on. I enjoy facing them because it’s a battle of wills and the pressure is off.


“If you can transfer that pressure to the kicker and make it difficult, then hopefully you can save more than you concede.”


The Clarets have now earned a mini-break before their return to action against Blackburn Rovers on September 14.


A team-bonding session in Scotland has been arranged, while the likes of Danny Lafferty, Sam Vokes, David Edgar and Cameron Howieson have jetted around the world on international duty.


But Heaton insists all the focus is already turning to the big east Lancashire derby at Turf Moor a week on Saturday.


He said: “The Blackburn game can’t come quick enough, but we have the two-week break first and it feels good going into that with three points.


“The local rivalry is brewing and it keeps getting talked about, but as you can see from the performance we are passing the ball well and it does well for the future - and if we can take that into the Blackburn game we can hopefully come out winners.”

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