Michael Keane believes the coming year could eclipse even the Clarets’ achievements in 2016 as he sees Burnley continue to progress on and off the pitch.
The current year – which ends with Saturday’s visit of Sunderland to Turf Moor – has seen the Clarets bounce straight back up to the Premier League as Championship winners.
Keane played a huge role as Sean Dyche’s men went unbeaten in the Championship in 2016 to win the title and bring the first piece of silverware to Turf Moor for 34 years.
But the classy defender feels the best is still to come.
Keane said: “2016 was a brilliant year for Burnley, but 2017 could be even bigger if we stay in the Premier League and we have a brilliant new training facility, which we will be hopefully moving into February time.
“The club is moving on and, taking it step by step, getting bigger and bigger, so it’s a good time to be a Burnley fan.”
The Clarets have made a £10m investment in the Barnfield Training Centre – a legacy of their last stay in the top flight - to bring their facilities up to Premier League standard.
The Barnfield Training Centre under development
And Keane sees the new training complex as a symbol of the club’s recent progress.
He added: “It’s exciting. The training ground now is nice and compact, it’s nice and cosy and has a great feel about it.
“But when you go over there and look at the size of it, you see how far the club has come in the last few years. You feel a sense of pride that you’ve been part of that.
“It will be brilliant once all the lads are in there. Everyone is looking forward to it and I’m sure it will give everyone a lift.”
The Clarets are determined to occupy their new day-to-day ‘home’ as a Premier League side and are going the right way about thanks to an impressive start to the season, which reaches the half-way stage with the visit of the Black Cats.
“I think we’ve got a nice amount of points on the board and we’re in a nice position. I think we would probably have taken that if you had offered us at the start of the season,” admitted Keane.
Michael Keane has been an ever-present for the Clarets in the Premier League this season
The Boxing Day victory over Middlesbrough was Burnley’s sixth at home so far and doubled the tally of wins the Clarets managed in the first half of the season two years ago en route to relegation.
Dyche’s side is back up to 14th-place in the table and know another success on Saturday would take them nine points clear of Sunderland, who are third from bottom.
“The teams that are going to be around you, they are the big ones when they come to your place,” added Keane, who helped secure a vital clean sheet in the 1-0 win over Boro.
“We had a great result against Middlesbrough last time out and we need the same against Sunderland.
“We know it’s going to be difficult. They’ve got some good players, especially going forward, so we will have to play really well.
“But we have been brilliant at home and if we can keep that up, it will put us in a good position.”