Burnley’s grip on seventh place in the Premier League might be surprising some, but Chris Wood isn’t shocked at how well they have done since he became a Claret.
Wood arrived at Turf Moor from Leeds United as the Clarets’ record buy in August and has since found the net seven times in 17 league games to help Burnley to 43 points after 30 matches.
And the striker is enjoying the inside story with eight games of the campaign to go.
“Before I came into this club I’d have been surprised to see Burnley get to this points’ total so quickly,” Wood said.
“But after I joined and began working under the manager and with the lads, now I’m not surprised, because we’ve got great quality and a great team and that’s something we can build on.
“I’d like to think we’re taking the club to the next level. We’re looking to keep on progressing as a team. We want to make sure we are an established Premier League side year in, year out and build on from there.
“One of our goals at the start of the season was to get to this point. It’s nice to do it so early on with a few games to go.
“People wrote us off at the start but we’re a team with a lot of character and a lot of heart, showing that we are a good footballing side. We’ve beaten some good teams this season. It’s satisfying, but we’ve got a lot more goals to achieve.”
After an enforced three-week break from action the Clarets resume their campaign at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
Wood didn’t expect to see his former club struggling at the bottom of the table but returns to the Hawthorns with his thoughts on helping Sean Dyche’s men look for a third straight win.
“Being in the position we’re in, it gives us a bit more freedom and a bit more license to try things,” added the 26-year-old, who started his career in this country with the Baggies.
“We’ve still got to stick to what we’re good at and what we’ve done well to get to this point. We can build on that and add a few more elements to our game that we maybe wouldn’t try if the games were a bit tight.
“We expect them to put everything on the line and throw everything at it. They’re looking for the next win, for the next few points to kick-start a little run, but we’re going there to continue our run and see where we can get to.”
Wood is on a roll himself with three goals in two substitute appearances since returning from two months out with a knee injury.
The New Zealand international is one goal ahead of Ashley Barnes in the race to finish as top scorer and says competition for places is driving everyone on as he challenges for a first start since December.
“It’s been a good season for me personally,” said Wood.
“Unfortunately, I’ve missed quite a few of the games through injury, but I wanted to get myself into a Premier League team and establish myself here and hopefully I can do that in the seasons to come.
“There’s a fantastic relationship between all of the strikers. It makes for a competitive outlook. There aren’t many spots in the team with a guaranteed starter.”