SEAN Dyche believes Burnley are capable of achieving a top six finish this season, but has warned they will have to work hard for it.
The Clarets go into tomorrow’s game at Millwall four points off the play-off positions, after climbing to 10th following last week’s win over Crystal Palace.
Three points at The Den would maintain a 100 per cent run for Dyche’s men since the turn of the year in the Championship, and boost their case further by overtaking the seventh-placed Lions.
Sitting above Wolves, Bolton and rivals Blackburn Rovers has given them a psychological edge ahead of the trip to south east London.
All three were predicted to be in the promotion pack and pushing for an immediate return to the Premier League, but have so far struggled to adjust since relegation.
However, Dyche feels their greater financial clout will have an impact during the January transfer window as sides look to strengthen for the second half of the season.
Burnley are cutting their cloth accordingly with their parachute payments running out this year. But what they lack in the transfer kitty he feels they can make up for with continued hard graft.
“It’s not about what you can’t achieve, because we all know you can achieve anything,” said Dyche.
“There is a reality amongst that and you look at some of the clubs now in the Championship and there are some big, big clubs. Equally there are some big clubs who aren’t at the right end of the table – no-one’s got a divine right.
“But over time you would imagine if those big clubs continually throw money at it, at some point over the years they’re going to bounce back.
“Our challenge is to compete in that market, without major resources.
“That’s the reality of it. It’s not a positive or a negative, it’s just what it is. That’s our challenge now, and we’re going about it the right way.”
But Dyche is adamant their ambition should not mirror their limited budget.
“There’s a belief in the group,” he said. “There are some very good teams in this division but you’re not playing Barcelona or Real Madrid every week or Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal or whatever.
“You’re playing teams in the same division as you and they are there for a reason – all of those clubs.
“I don’t think about the size of clubs, I just think about our 11 versus their 11 on any given day, and that’s what I get into the players.”
In winning promotion to the Premier League in 2009, the Clarets have already proved they can punch above their weight. And Dyche sees no reason why that feat cannot be repeated.
“Watford did it eight or nine years ago, arguably against the grain,” he said. “Burnley did it arguably against the grain, going through the back door – a great way and exciting way of doing it. Blackpool’s another one.
“I’m open minded. I’m not suggesting it can’t be done.
“It’s just that there are clubs out there who probably have a slight headstart because they can pick and choose players and revolve around the transfer market quite freely.
“Ours is not that situation. But I don’t think that’s radically against what Burnley’s been about for many years, in my eyes and with my knowledge of it.
“We’ll look to earn the right to be successful and that’s what we intend to do.”
Meanwhile, Dyche revealed talks with Burnley’s out of contract players, including first team regulars Lee Grant, Chris McCann, Dean Marney, Martin Paterson and Ross Wallace, are continuing.
“They are ongoing conversations, which is just a natural course of how it is,” he said.