Burnley skipper Ben Mee has heaped praise on team-mate Kevin Long ahead of Saturday’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur.
The Clarets defender is firmly in contention to start alongside Mee as James Tarkowski begins his three-match suspension, following a charge of violent conduct.
In Mee’s recent enforced absence, Long partenered Tarkowski against Watford and Stoke City at Turf Moor, helping his side pick up six points and two clean sheets.
And the stand-in skipper is looking forward to partnering Republic of Ireland international Long as the Clarets look to blunt the attacking prowess at Spurs’ disposal.
Mee said: “It will be good for him (Long) to come in and pick up where he left off against Watford and Stoke City.
“It’s a credit to the lads who come in and put the performances in, everyone is ready to come in and step up when called upon.
“I’m sure he’s excited to be playing in the next few games, fingers crossed.”
The Clarets’ Premier League form has gone relatively under the radar, sitting pretty in the top six with only two points separating the Clarets from a place in the top four after half a season.
And following the run-in to a busy couple of weeks, the Burnley defender is confident the players can continue build on their impressive foundations.
He said: “We’ve put ourselves in a really good position and we want to continue to perform and play well.
“It shows how far we’ve come as a group in such a short space of time. It’s a good time to be playing in the team and playing well, on top of that.
“We just take every game as it comes, use our experience from the past and see where it takes us.”
Mee has been fundamental in the Clarets’ success in a memorable year, giving everything for the cause and leading by example when called upon.
And the former England under-21 international is determined to keep the extraordinary journey alive.
“It’s been a fantastic year and hopefully next year can be even better”, he added.
“Hopefully we can carry it on into the summer, pick up some good wins and get some more points on the board.”
Burnley travel to Manchester United in a high-profile Boxing Day fixture, before a trip to Huddersfield Town and a visit of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool to begin the New Year.
And the former Manchester City defender is hungry for Burnley to prove a point against the division’s big-hitters.
“Man United is probably the second fixture I look for on the calendar, with (Manchester) City obviously being the first.
“I think we’ve grown since last time, so hopefully we can give them more of a game this time around. That being going forward and creating a few more problems for them”, the Sale-born centre-back added.
Burnley head into Saturday’s live fixture against Tottenham Hotspur eight points adrift of their total points tally from last season, a telling figure that should give the Clarets every inch of confidence ahead of four Christmas crackers.