CLARETS captain Jason Shackell is urging Burnley to play thrive on the derby day atmosphere – and is backing hot shot Charlie Austin to fire his team to victory.
Burnley have not beaten Blackburn since Easter Monday 1979 but Shackell believes Austin’s goals and a new-found resilience under Dyche can steer the team to a long overdue victory at Turf Moor tomorrow.
“The in-house feeling is that we’re very confident and excited,” said the skipper.
“They’re a team we shouldn’t fear.
“We should respect them but you shouldn’t fear any team in this league.
“And hopefully our danger man (Austin) will notch a few and we won’t have to worry about Jordan Rhodes too much.”
“Since the new gaffer’s come in he’s tinkered a few things and the results have followed.
“We’re confident we can go and get a result.”
The central defender is only too aware how long it is since the Clarets last triumphed over their biggest rivals.
He and his team-mates hope that by 2.30pm tomorrow they have brought an end to 33 years of torment.
“Around here you can definitely feel it’s a big game,” said Shackell, who was given the armband after arriving from Derby County in the summer.
“The lads are all fully aware of the importance of the day and we’ll make sure we’re ready for it.
“It wasn’t long after arriving that I heard about the rivalry because we had Bolton in the first game and everyone was saying, ‘This is a big derby but you wait for Blackburn’.
“You’ve got to thrive on these sort of occasions against these kind of teams.
“They’ve got some good players who have played at the top level for a long time, so it’s one I’m looking forward to and I know the rest of the lads are too.
“I’ve played in Norwich v Ipswich and Derby v Forest last year but I’ve heard this is up there. I can’t wait to get started.
“I think a lot of pride is riding on this result. I’ve also been reminded that Burnley haven’t beaten Blackburn for over 33 years, so it’s been a long time since Burnley have had something to cheer against the rivals.
“We look at it as a positive to go out there and put it to bed – that would be fantastic and give everyone something to smile about.
“The bigger picture is that three points puts us in the top half coming up to the halfway point of the season.”
Three points would put Burnley above Blackburn too, with only one point separating the teams going into the game.
And Shackell admits he would relish the prestige of bringing the bragging rights to Burnley.
“That would be very nice. Everyone wants that on their record,” he said.
“The in-house feeling is we’re very confident and excited. We all know they’ve got some good players.
“I played against Jordan Rhodes at Huddersfield earlier in the season and he’s obviously a threat.
“He’s a tidy player outside the box but inside the box he's a danger and scores a lot of goals.
They’re the kind of players you want to play against to test yourself.”