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Barnes: We Are Refocused

30 January 2015

Ashley Barnes believes Burnley are mentally refocused as they return to Premier League action away at Sunderland on Saturday.

The Clarets travel to the Stadium of Light on the back of a two-week break from competitive football – with both teams sat level on points just above the relegation zone in the table.

And Barnes insists Burnley used the last fortnight effectively and are ready to challenge for points again as the season slowly approaches its climax.

He said: “It’s been a good, little break. We had a couple of days off over the weekend which the gaffer gave us to mentally refocus and then we cracked back on with training on Monday.

“After the last game we wanted the next one to come quick, but that’s gone now. We’ve let it go and it’s out of our system.

“We’ve got a big game coming up and it’s going to be a big challenge against Sunderland and hopefully one where we’ll come out on top.

“It’s very tight down the bottom of the table, but we’ve just got to focus on ourselves, take each game as it comes and see where it takes us.

“Our focus is on Sunderland now and we’re ready to go again.”

The fixture in the North East will see Barnes reunited with his former manager Gus Poyet as well as ex-Brighton and Hove Albion teammates Liam Bridcutt and Will Buckley.

And the Burnley striker does not hide the fact that the current Sunderland head coach has had a big influence on his career.

However, he admits all friendships will be put aside as soon as the whistle blows at the Stadium of Light.

Barnes added: “He [Poyet] is fantastic and what he did with us at Brighton was brilliant. Unfortunately, he moved on and he’s done well at Sunderland.

“They’re obviously in the bottom half of the table like we are, but he’s a great manager and his staff are good as well. I pay respects to them for starting my career at Brighton.

“We’re friends, but as soon as you cross the white line, there’s a job to do and it’s game on.”

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