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Burnley keeper Heaton wants all three points in Schmeichel head to head
TOM Heaton goes head to head with his old friend Kasper Schmeichel tomorrow, insisting that Burnley will not be content to settle for a draw in their top of the table clash at Leicester City.
Every successful team needs a good goalkeeper, and the Clarets and their opponents tomorrow appear to have two of the Championship’s best.
While Heaton has impressed many since joining Burnley in the summer, Schmeichel has long since been highly regarded.
Not surprising, given he is the son of Peter Schmeichel, one of the greatest goalkeepers of the modern era.
Kasper was a regular visitor to United during his father’s time between the sticks at United, and struck up a friendship with Heaton – a keeper who would emerge from the youth ranks at Old Trafford.
Schmeichel went on to sign for Manchester City before making his way to Leicester via Notts County and Leeds United.
“He’s a similar age to me, he came to United as a young lad and obviously he was at City for a long time,” Heaton said.
“I actually get on really well with him. I think he’s a very good goalkeeper and has proved that over the last few years.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him and pitting myself against him. Hopefully we can knock a few past him.
“I think he’s shown over the last few years that he’s one of the best in the division. He’s got a lot of ability and has proved it by consistently performing.
“I think Leicester have got a lot of good players. We’re not going there underestimating them, they’ve got a big squad and some good players and he’s certainly one of them.”
Schmeichel is not the only Leicester player that Heaton knows well.
Defender Ritchie De Laet, who is set to return from a long injury lay-off tomorrow, played with the goalkeeper at United. The same is true for Matty James, the Bacup-born midfielder.
A trip to the King Power Stadium is potentially one of Burnley’s toughest games of the campaign, but Heaton says the Clarets’ confidence is such that they are thinking in terms of victory rather than a creditable away draw.
“I think the mentality of the squad defines that, depending on what club you’re at,” he said.
“I’ve been at a few clubs over the years where people talk about good away points in the Championship, which is true.
“You can’t get away from the fact that if you get a point away from home it’s a good point.
“But with the way we are here and the way the manager sets out things, we go to win every game – home, away, neutral ground, it doesn’t matter where we are, we go to win the game.
“I think we’ll set out to get the three points and see how we go.
“We’re not looking for a point, we’re looking for three points and we go from there.”
Get through this one with a positive result, and there will be an increasing belief that the Clarets can last the pace this season.
“I think so, although I’d like to think that we’ve sort of proven that so far anyway,” he said.
“But ‘getting through it’ isn’t really in our mentality, we’re going there to win the game.
“From our point of view we’re going there shoulders back, heads up high, hopefully to roll over them.”
Even so far into the season, the fact that many around the country still expect Burnley to fade could be a source of frustration.
Leicester are big favourites with the bookmakers to win tomorrow, but Heaton does not mind that one bit.
“I think there’s two ways you can go about it,” he said.
“You can shield yourself from it or you can use that as motivation.
“It’s just about finding the balance from the two, shielding yourself from it enough that it doesn’t become unconsciously ingrained in the messages that people are sending, and also that we know what we’re about inside these four walls and we know what we can achieve.
“It’s about getting that balance between the two and hopefully that drives us on.
“I think we’ve had a good balance so far.”
This has been a week when football has been hit by spot fixing allegations, with a number of players arrested – including Blackburn Rovers forward DJ Campbell.
Campbell has not been charged and has been bailed until April, like the other players questioned.
And Heaton is sad to see such allegations in the English game.
“It’s a bit disappointing really,” he admitted.
“It’s not something that you really want to associate with football, especially not in this country.
“The honesty you get in the leagues, Premier League, Championship, League One, League Two, they are good games.
“Look at Saturday, when Barnsley were down at the bottom of the table and we were at the top, and for the first half Barnsley were the better team.
“You don’t want to lose that honesty and integrity that football has got. I have to be honest, it’s very disappointing and shocking, “Hopefully they’ll do something about it and we can avoid it happening again.”
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