MICHAEL Kightly believes Burnley have enough Premier League experience in their squad to survive in the top flight.
Kightly is keeping tight-lipped on the progress of his expected permanent move to Turf Moor, as the Clarets look to finalise a deal following the winger’s successful season-long loan from Stoke City.
But the 28-year-old has already confirmed that he wants to move to Burnley full time and his thoughts are of being part of the Clarets squad in the Premier League next term.
Kightly has played for both Stoke and Wolves in the top tier and sees plenty of other players who have experience of playing in the Premier League.
Among them are Michael Duff, Jason Shackell, Dean Marney, David Jones, Sam Vokes, Ross Wallace and Junior Stanislas.
“People will make us favourites to be relegated but I think we can cause a few surprises,” Kightly said.
“I see the ingredients in the dressing room. We have quite a few players who have played a lot of games in the Premier League.
“We’ve got a good mix of youth and experience and a strong mentality.
“There are a few of us who have the experience of playing at the top grounds and the big clubs, so we know what to expect.
“But it works both ways. If it is your first time at Old Trafford you make sure you are at your best just because of the occasion.
“I can’t wait for the fixtures to come out now. That’s when you really start to realise that you are in the Premier League.
“We will all be looking at those to see when the games are.”
The fixtures for the new season will be released on June 18, with the opening day of the Premier League campaign on August 16.
Kightly looks at the likes of Crystal Palace, Hull City and Swansea City as inspiration for how traditionally smaller clubs can stay in the Premier League - with or without major investment.
“We believe we can give a good account of ourselves,” he said.
“I think the top six are in a league of their own but other than we feel we can perform against anyone, especially at home.
“We can see clubs who have gone up and survived, and there’s no reason why we can’t do the same.
“Those clubs have spent a lot of money and I don’t think we will spend silly cash, but if we can keep the squad together and the manager and maybe one or two additions then we will be okay.”
Burnley boss Sean Dyche has been regarded by some to be a contender for the League Managers Association’s manager of the year award, with the winner due to be announced at a ceremony in London tonight.
No manager from outside the top flight has won the award since Steve Coppell guided Reading to the Championship title with a record 106 points in 2006.