MICHAEL Duff says the incentives are there for Burnley to turn a frustrating point into a valuable one.
The Clarets took the lead three times at Birmingham City on Wednesday, including a first of the season for the defender, but they were pegged back by the battling Blues on each occasion in a frantic second half at St Andrew’s.
The last of them was a particularly bitter blow, with substitute Federico Macheda controlling the ball with his arm before crashing in his second and the Blues’ third to cancel out Sam Vokes’ late strike, denying Burnley a fourth straight win and the chance to go 10 points clear in second place.
Although it was only the sixth time the Clarets had conceded more than one goal in a Championship game all season, and the draw kept them unbeaten in 13 matches, there was frustration within the camp at allowing Birmingham the opportunities.
But as they prepare to face Leeds United at Turf Moor tomorrow, Duff has urged the players to put the disappointment behind them and put all their efforts into preserving their proud, one-year unbeaten home record, and at the same time further enhance their promotion push.
“It’s important to recognise the feeling of disappointment at the end of the game and take it into Saturday.
“Sometimes you can come off the pitch and forget about it. But it’s onto the next, it’s Leeds, it’s at home – we’re not bad at home – and we’ll be looking to go and win the game.
“If we go and beat Leeds it makes Wednesday’s point all the more valuable,” said Duff, who led the handball appeals against Macheda deep into stoppage time.
“Sometimes you don’t have to see an incident, I think players’ reactions tell you. I was pretty close, I felt it was handball.
“It’s not ideal that we go chasing the referee but it’s an emotional game and you feel you’ve been maybe robbed of what would have been a valuable three points.
“If you take the emotion out of the game it’s a good point away from home.”
And with it following on from a long-awaited win over Blackburn Rovers, Duff added: “It’s four points from two tough away games, especially off the back of Sunday and all the hoo-ha that went around with that and the emotion that was involved with that.
“It’s a valuable point. It was disappointing straight after, but when you wake up the morning after and look at the table it’s four points from two tough away games.
“There are no easy away games in this league. You look at the results every week and there are a couple of funny ones.
“Birmingham have not won at home (in the league since October) and once they got their tails up, which they did, they just lumped it in the box and hoped for a knockdown. The last goal’s taken a couple of ricochets before it’s got to him as well.
“They scored a great volley as well. It’s a tough one.
“But if you look at the table it’s as you were really.
“We’ve had two tough away games and we’re still in the same position, it’s a positive.”
And Duff described his goal, which put Burnley 2-1 ahead on the night, as another plus point, after centre half partner Jason Shackell added to his tally in the derby on Sunday.
“It’s important,” he added. “We can’t rely on the front two and Barnesy (Ashley Barnes) when he’s coming on at the minute. It’s important we chip in from other areas.
“It’s something that me and Shacks have actually spoken about. We’ve been disappointed that up until the last few weeks we’ve not really done it.
“It’s something we’ve discussed, but it’s easy talking about, it’s not that easy heading it in.”
Duff, whose previous goal was in a 2-0 home win over Derby on Boxing Day 2012, added: “I don’t score many so they’re all good ones.
“I felt it’s been coming. I’ve been pretty close in the last couple of weeks, getting on the end of things and putting them nowhere near. It’s nice to finally stick one in.
“It would be nice if it was the winner, it would have meant a little bit more.
“But I’m not really bothered about scoring goals. It’s nice when they come along but I'd rather a 1-0 win.”