Suzanne Geldard column: Burnley boss Dyche will rise to challenge of top flight (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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Suzanne Geldard column: Burnley boss Dyche will rise to challenge of top flight
SEAN Dyche would barely have got to the bottom of his champagne flute when the promotion celebrations turned into planning for the Premier League.
Given Burnley’s longevity in the top three and ultimate size of their cushion in second place preparations have been quietly afoot for some time.
It would have been folly to ignore the increasingly inevitable.
Eight months of trials, tribulations and toil has now, definitely, culminated in promotion back to the Premier League for the Clarets, five years since the first time.
But while players partied long into the night on Monday – and rightly so to celebrate their stunning success – for boss Dyche the hard work has just started.
The 42-year-old is set for a busy summer, not just plotting how they will shape up to give them the best chance of staying up, but the personnel required.
Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson, whose side clinched the Championship title on Tuesday night, has said he intends to give the players who got them up the opportunity to prove they can compete at the top level.
In an ideal world Dyche would surely love to show the same loyalty.
Realistically there will need to be a serious recruitment drive to boost a small squad that has worked miracles in the Championship a chance at the top level.
But the Burnley boss has already proved he is the best candidate for that role.
There was a squad shake-up last summer, and with a number of fringe players soon to be out of contract – including Keith Treacy, Danny Lafferty, Junior Stanislas, David Edgar – he will not be afraid to go through a similar process again if he deems it necessary, while also mindful of the need to boost numbers.
Burnley operated with one of the smallest Championship squads, using the least number of players, on one of the lowest budgets.
Dyche worked miracles.
To make survival a prospect next year the board will need to back him in the transfer market. They will spend this summer, but in comparison with the rest of the Premier League it will not be vast amounts.
But Dyche has an eye for quality at a cut price.
Goalkeeper Tom Heaton and midfielders David Jones, Scott Arfield and Chris Baird have only cost the club wages.
Michael Kightly was an astute long-term loan.
Ashley Barnes, Dyche’s only purchase, was a bargain at an up-front £450,000.
All of them have proved instrumental in the Clarets’ climb.
Can they cling on? As ever with newly promoted teams, they face the bubble-bursting bookies making them favourites to go down.
But Dyche is used to defying the odds. After passing one test of his managerial methods with flying colours to bring top flight football back to Burnley, he faces another.
He will relish the challenge, and surely rise to it.
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