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Dyche Seeks Champagne End To Year

29 December 2017

Sean Dyche is looking for his players to bring the curtain down on a memorable 2017 in style this weekend.

Whatever the result at Huddersfield Town on Saturday, the Clarets will end the year in seventh spot in the Premier League; tucked in nicely behind the so-called ‘big-six’.

Reflecting on the past 12 months, Dyche expressed pride at the work undertaken to make the club the surprise package of the top flight this season.

And the gaffer is now looking for his players to lay down another marker with continued progression in 2018.

“I think there are many smaller memories from this year, but the bigger picture is that I think we are moving forwards as a club and a team,” said Dyche.

“That’s the biggest thing by far for me, moving everything forward, on and off the pitch. The business side looks good, the training ground is coming to the end of its development and looking very smart, and is very user-friendly in terms of facilities.

“All is in good order, and especially the development of the players. That, in turn is moving the team forward, which in turn means the club moves forward.

“I am so happy on many levels and making that work is not just down to me. It’s down to a lot of people at the club doing some very hard work, from the Chairman and the board down through the Chief Executive, myself, the staff and the players and the fans.

“I’ve always said that alignment is important and I think that is a very pleasing thing after five years, to have this club in the shape it’s in.

“The challenge next year is to continue to protect it and continue to move it forward.”

Dyche added: “Most people know that in the top six there is a shift in the market. The big boys are the big boys and the next lot are all vying to finish as high up the table as they can.

“I am pleased with the team and where we are because the top of the rest is an important place to be.

“It shows signs of that continued growth I talk about. There are some very big clubs in that category of ‘the rest’ and to be top of them is very pleasing.”

Saturday’s opponents, Huddersfield, are enjoying their first taste of the Premier League, sitting comfortably in mid-table following six wins and five draws from their 20 games.

And following a hard-fought Boxing Day draw at Manchester United, Dyche insists his players will treat their hosts with equal respect.

“We’ll do nothing different in the fundamentals,” he explained. “When I got here I don’t think many Burnley fans thought we’d be walking into Old Trafford three times in the last five seasons.

“Huddersfield, on the other hand, have earned the right and the challenge is therefore the same; you have to go and perform.

“I think they have had a really good first half of the season. They have ended up spending a lot of money for a team newly-promoted, but I think they have done very well with that because they have signed good players and not only that, they’ve moulded a side.

“I think there’s only four or five playing regularly from last year’s team, which is quite a significant change but they are getting results and that’s the key, especially in your first season.

“It makes for a good game against two teams who are challenging themselves for different reasons.

“We want to continue moving forwards, they want to continue to find out where they are really at, and so far they’re doing a really good job.”

Dyche will be without Stephen Ward (knee) for the trip to Yorkshire, while striker Chris Wood (knee) is also a doubt.

The gaffer said: “It’s the first time for a long time we’ve been at stretch as a squad. We know about the long-term injuries and they’re all coming along well, but Stephen won’t make this weekend. We are happy with his knee and it’s calming down, as is Woody’s and he’ll be touch-and-go for the weekend.

“Dean Marney is back in now, along with Jon Walters, so the injuries are an improbable turn of events in our recent history, but we’ll deal with that.”

Clarets Player HD will have live commentary from Huddersfield Town v Burnley from 2.45pm on Saturday. Commentary is also available on the go via the official club App.


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