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Andy Lochhead column: Burnley are ready for the big push
WE have entered the second half of the season, and while there are still 20 games to go you can start to call it the big push now.
It makes Tuesday’s visit of Brighton a must win game, particularly ahead of next Saturday’s trip to QPR, which will be a tough one after they leapfrogged us last weekend.
The top two are by no means out of reach – not even top spot, despite Leicester looking as though they are running away with it.
They, along with QPR, are a very strong team and could be nine points clear by the end of play on Saturday.
But in that event we will have a game in hand, and even so there is still a lot of football to be played between now and the end of the season, and a lot can happen.
I would certainly expect a minimum of a top six finish for Burnley though.
If the second halves of recent games are anything to go by, then the Clarets have certainly got the stamina to sustain the challenge.
Even if we are just able to mirror the first half of the season then it should be more than enough to be in the mix come May.
We should, of course, be two points better off than our current total.
It still baffles me how we didn’t beat Sheffield Wednesday last weekend and record another double.
Chris Kirkland was pulling saves out left, right and centre to limit us to one goal.
There isn’t much more Danny Ings and Sam Vokes could have done.
You might say they missed a lot of chances, but they hit the target consistently.
I felt sorry for them because it is frustrating for a striker when a goalkeeper is having one of those games.
But they have support in the form of Ashley Barnes, who will be looking forward to meeting old club Brighton so quickly after his move.
Hopefully his inside track on the opposition will be a big benefit to us.
Last Saturday was our first proper glimpse of the new signing, on his home debut, and although it was brief there were some promising signs, such as the ball he delivered at the end for Ings to almost win it.
He will have enjoyed the opportunity to get away with the squad and get to know his team-mates better during the warm weather training camp in Spain.
And it will have done the squad as a whole the world of good to have this time-out – especially with the weather here being as miserable.
Fingers crossed they come back with sunshine in their boots, refreshed and ready to fire again.
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