CHRIS McCann believes getting through the transfer window with the squad intact will be the key to keeping Burnley’s play-off dream alive.
After climbing to the top of the chasing pack with three league wins on the spin at the start of the calendar year, the gap widened by one point to five after the 10-man Clarets suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Birmingham on Saturday.
Burnley felt they were served an injustice, and have since lodged an appeal against Dean Marney’s second half dismissal for a challenge with Paul Robinson.
If successful, they will avoid a three-match ban for the midfielder.
But in the long-term, McCann says it is vital for the club to get through Thursday’s transfer deadline unscathed.
“I think it’s important to keep everyone together if we’re going to have a crack at the play-offs,” said the long-serving midfielder.
“There’s no point in getting this far and starting to lose some players that are key to the team.
“There are a lot of players who are out of contract who play every week. It would be a blow to lose somebody.
“It’s vital to keep them if we’re going to have a push for the play-offs.”
McCann, who helped the club win promotion via the play-offs in 2008/09, added: “There’s expectation at the club and we’ve got to live up to it.
“There’s always going to be pressure when you play and we want to do as best we can. We want to be in the top six come May.
“I think it’s just part and parcel of the game, there’s pressure every single week when you get out onto that pitch and we’ve got to handle it, and I’m sure we're capable of doing that.”
And the Dubliner sees it as a good sign that there has been little transfer talk of substance involving the current Clarets.
“It’s been pretty quiet about the club, everyone goes about their day to day business,” said McCann.
“From what I’ve seen of the transfer window so far I don’t think there’s too much business to be done. Everyone comes in every day and works as hard as possible because we have a job to do and our focus is on the job here – we don’t pay too much attention to what goes on around us.
“That’s for the board to decide.”
Contracts are another matter in the board’s hands.
McCann is one of nine senior players – including seven first team squad regulars – whose current deals expire this summer.
The club has entered into early negotiations in the hope of avoiding wholesale changes for next season.
“I’ve been happy here all my career. People have speculated before about what I’m going to do,” said the Dubliner, who has been with the Clarets since he was 16.
“I’m a Burnley player and I’m happy to wear that shirt every week, keep playing football and playing with a smile on my face again.”
Of his own contract situation, he added: “My agent’s handling that. I think he’s in negotiations with the club.
“That’s out of my hands, I let them deal with all the stuff.
“I had a year of that when I was coming back from injury and I don’t want to do that again, so I leave that to the people who know what they’re doing."