STAYING in the Premier League is Burnley’s top target for the 2017/18 campaign, but skipper Tom Heaton is determined to see how far the Clarets can go after admitting to disappointment at how they finished last season.

Although Sean Dyche’s side ended up in 16th last year, beating the drop by six points, the Clarets won just two of their last 15 Premier League games.

With just six points separating Southampton in eighth to Watford in 17th Heaton knows a better finish could have seen Burnley finish higher up the table.

And asked what would constitute a successful season this time around, Heaton said: “First and foremost retaining Premier League status has got to be high on the list. Beyond that it’s seeing how far we can go.

“We were a little bit disappointed last season not to finish higher than we did.

“There was an opportunity there, it was very tight in the middle portion of the division and I was slightly disappointed we didn’t finish a little stronger and kick on a little bit, because we’d have flown up the table given how tight it was.

“But first we need to stay in the division, beyond that let’s see how far we can go and really push it.”

That’s not a view shared by the bookies, who are once again content to write the Clarets off, making them second favourites for the drop behind newly-promoted Huddersfield Town.

“Everyone’s got a view,” said Heaton. “There has to be a favourite to win it and one to go down. We try not to take notice of it.

“In the first season I came here we were third favourites to get relegated (from the Championship) and we got promoted so they got that one wrong I think. We have our own standards and expectations within the four walls.

“We know there’s a lot of quality in the league, we have a healthy respect for it but we don’t fear anyone, we don’t worry about anything, we look to do what we can do to get results.”

There were plenty of results to be savoured at Turf Moor last season, with 10 of Burnley’s 11 Premier League wins coming in front of their own fans.

They finally broke that away duck at Crystal Palace at the end of April and while Heaton recognised improvement in those away performances as the campaign progressed, he believes the addition of top flight experience in Jon Walters, Jack Cork and Phil Bardsley will help.

“There’s a lot of factors that go into it and that game management is something we talked about a lot, we improved drastically over the season but there’s more to come,” Heaton said.

“That experience and knowhow, the understanding of being there and doing it previously, will hopefully stand us in good stead.

“I don’t think we started great away last season and it snowballed a bit.

“At the turn of the year a lot of our performances probably warranted more than we got, but with that monkey on your back it can be a bit difficult and we’ll be looking to rectify that as soon as possible this season.”

The additions of Walters, Cork and Bardsley, as well as left-back Charlie Taylor, have pushed the Clarets on again this summer.

Skipper Heaton believes it is essential Burnley to continue to move forward as they try and keep pace with their top flight rivals.

“The league moves on, everything evolves,” the 31-year-old said. “Last season was successful, but with the training ground, the pitches, the competition in the squad, everything is moving forward and I think it has to.

“Everyone else is improving so the challenge keeps getting tougher but it’s one we’re all excited about.”