SEAN Dyche has urged Burnley to lay a marker down against third placed Crystal Palace today, and prove they are in the mood to mount a promotion push in the second half of the season.
Despite sitting only four points outside the play-off positions the Clarets have yet to put a run of results together this season.
But Dyche feels they are capable of consistency, and believes backing up the New Year’s Day win at Sheffield Wednesday with success in their first home game of 2013 could prove to be a springboard for success.
“They (the players) have staked a claim to get more points on the board than we’ve got. We’re in pretty good shape, four points off the play-offs and still looking upwards and still looking to get more (points) on the table,” said Dyche, who is hoping to have midfielder Chris McCann available after injury, but expects to be without strikers Charlie Austin and Martin Paterson this afternoon.
“The group is attempting to show, but it has the capabilities to do better.
“The challenge is to do better than what we are at the moment. That’s all you can do.”
Asked if he felt the Clarets could kick on and climb the table, Dyche added: “That’s what the intention is. You can’t guarantee it but we’re working hard on the training pitch to go as far as we can to ensure performances stay good. And obviously I believe that when performances are good over a period then points come with it.
“That’s a base for us to work on. Performances have been pretty good since I’ve been here and we’re always searching for more and we’re always working for more.
“That will continue on a weekly basis until the end of the season and we’ll see what’s what.”
Burnley have been on the wrong end of key refereeing decisions, not least last week’s case of mistaken identity which led to Brian Stock being sent off in the cup defeat to Barnsley.
But Dyche warned: “That’s the way football can be. No-one gives you points, you can’t control decisions made by the officials, you have to earn everything that you get and we’re having to do that, but that makes for a really good mentality I think.
“Barring a couple of twists of fate we’ve done well but we can do better and we want to do better.”
And beating Palace would offer a timely shot in the arm for Burnley.
“They have some fire power obviously with Glenn Murray, who’s scoring goals and the two wide players have been very productive for them,” said Dyche.
“There’s a lot of talk about one of them with (Wilfried) Zaha, but I think (Yannick) Bolasie has done well and there’s talk about him.
“They have their share of challenges outside the field of play if you like, but they’ve shown they can get points on the table.
“It will certainly be another stiff challenge for us but I think they all are in all different ways.
“The bottom sides are fighting to be out of there, the top sides are fighting to be at the top and we’re fighting to do better, so everyone has their different challenges.
“The players will be aware of what the opposition will offer but inevitably it comes down to what we do, and that’s always the main focus.”