MANAGER Sean Dyche believes Burnley are becoming a team that can challenge for promotion.
In continuing a personal unbeaten record against his old club, Millwall, through Saturday’s 2-0 win at The Den, the Clarets stretched their winning start to the new year to three games to replace the Lions in seventh place.
Dyche is confident they can continue to climb, but with 18 games to play has guarded against getting ahead of themselves, and warned they must take it a step at a time.
“The reality of it is you’ve got so many games to go and all you can keep doing is focusing on the next one,” said the Burnley boss.
“It will be nice to get back to a home game next.
“We can only work on that.
“Some of the signs we’re showing are fantastic, but I don’t think any team – certainly not us – are the real deal.
“We’re always trying to look to see if we can improve, change, adapt, be flexible – all of those things. It is just an ongoing process and you wait until the end of the season to see if you’re in the shake-up. But we’re certainly giving it a go, that’s for sure!”
And Dyche feels the framework he has focused on will stand them in good stead.
The Clarets have been forced into changes in recent weeks, through injury and suspension.
Ben Mee has been missing with knee ligament damage since early December, top scorer Charlie Austin has sat out the last four games with a hamstring problem, Brian Stock was suspended for last week’s win over Crystal Palace, Chris McCann and Martin Paterson only returned on Saturday from the hamstring problems they suffered in the New Year’s Day win at Sheffield Wednesday, while Michael Duff was a late casualty on the eve of the trip to Millwall, also with a hamstring strain.
However, with four wins and clean sheets from their last five league games, alterations have not been to the detriment of performances.
“Something we’ve been putting in the team is the basic principle of how the team works,” he said.
“We hope to have a position where players can come in and out of the side due to the nature of suspensions, loss of form, injury, whatever and know their role and responsibility, and that’s an invaluable thing over a season.
“The main thing for me on Saturday, and in recent weeks, is that we’ve had a number of changes for many different reasons and the mentality that we’re building here is that anyone who walks onto that pitch in a Burnley shirt is ready to go and everyone accepts it.”