Heaton: Burnley won't waste fantastic start

Lancashire Telegraph: Tom Heaton Tom Heaton

GOALKEEPER Tom Heaton has urged Burnley to ensure a “fantastic” first half of the season doesn’t go to waste.

The Clarets head to Middlesbrough for a Boxing Day bout having returned to the top of the Championship with a 2-1 derby win over Blackpool.

Burnley have spent the best part of three months at the summit, dropping away only after defeat to Huddersfield last month, later pipped by QPR after drawing at Leicester.

But after reclaiming first place at the weekend, Heaton is confident that the Clarets can keep up the good work heading into the new year.

“To be top at Christmas is a fantastic achievement, one that we are proud of and one that we want to make sure doesn’t go to waste,” said the stopper.

“There is an awful long way to go, but we can take confidence from the fact that we are there, focus on the things that have got us there and then push the boundaries.”

For Heaton, there is no danger of the Clarets resting on their laurels or counting on the fact that Christmas leaders from the last five seasons have all gone on to win promotion to the Premier League.

“I’ve seen that stat but in many respects it means nothing,” he warned. If you look at the table now only three points separates the top four teams. Beyond that there are a lot of teams chasing us down.

“We’re not quite halfway through the season yet so we can’t take our eye off the ball.

“Equally we don’t want to fall into the trap of looking at what everyone else is doing because that can add unnecessary pressure.

“It’s important we focus on what we are doing.”

That includes being mindful of the opposition’s threats, with Heaton earmarking his former Bristol City team-mate Albert Adomah as a danger man for Middlesbrough.

“He’s a great lad with a lot of ability, which he showcased last season in a team that was struggling down the wrong end of the table,” said Heaton.

“He scored again at the weekend, so I’ll be looking forward to stopping him.

“I’ll try to give the lads a heads-up on what he likes to try to do and his strengths.

“But we’ve shown defensively what we are about this season so hopefully that will continue and we’ll do what is necessary to stop him and Middlesbrough.”

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