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Burnley Clarets continue to defy all the odds
3:58pm Tuesday 8th October 2013 in Sport
PRE-MATCH, it was hard to shake the nagging feeling that this might just be the week where things started to take a turn for the worse.
Indeed, circumstances had conspired in such a way that it seemed almost inevitable that the wheels would come off.
Consider the evidence.
On Tuesday, Burnley’s 2-0 victory at the Keepmoat Stadium propelled them to the summit of the Championship.
Forty-eight hours later, Gareth Southgate invited Danny Ings to represent England.
And to top it all off, Sean Dyche was awarded Championship manager of the month for September.
Surely it was impossible to continue on such a dazzlingly brilliant roll.
Evidently not. Earlier in the week, Dyche had spoken with the squad about Ed Moses, the American 400m hurdler who won a staggering 122 consecutive races between 1977 and 1987, winning a pair of Olympic gold medals and breaking the world record four times along the way.
In other words, there’s nothing that says you can’t win all the time.
And it was that attitude that the Clarets took into the Reading game and which helped them extend their stay at the top.
This was, by some margin, Burnley’s biggest hurdle so far.
No-one ever imagined that the Royals were going to roll over in the same accommodating manner adopted by Birmingham City and Charlton.
And they didn’t. Pleasingly, Dyche’s men turned in their best ninety-plus minutes of the campaign to date.
Or as the likeable Nigel Adkins more prosaically couched it: “Burnley were bang at it.”
Indeed they were, Nigel.
In recent weeks, and for obvious reasons, Ings and Vokes have been grabbing the headlines.
However, it was another pairing which caught the eye on Saturday. Dean Marney and David Jones were simply outstanding in the middle of the pitch.
Measured and accurate with their passing when in possession and gritty and tenacious when chasing down the opposition.
And so for a well-earned fortnight off for the players. The received wisdom informs us that when you’re on a winning run, you don’t want to stop playing.
However, given the minimalist nature of Burnley’s squad and the number of games they’ve got through since August, it’s hard not to see the benefit of easing back for a couple of weeks, reflecting on an outrageously good start to the season and planning how best to keep it going.
As for the rest of us, I suggest we download a copy of the current Championship table and use it as a screensaver for the next fortnight.
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