SEAN Dyche has described his current Clarets crop as a “different animal” to the side which last visited the Reebok Stadium.
Burnley take on beleaguered Bolton Wanderers tonight hoping to end a 29-year wait for an away win in this particular derby.
It is 12 months since their last visit, when David Edgar gave the Clarets the lead 10 minutes into the second half, only for Craig Davies and David Ngog to follow up and win the game.
But after twice coming back from behind to take four points from their last two games – including a draw at promotion favourites QPR – Dyche insists his players are made of stronger stuff one year on.
“It was a twist of fate. They had a good last 15 minutes. I thought we’d done enough to get something from the game for sure,” said the Burnley boss.
“We’re a different animal this year, I’m pretty sure of that.”
But Dyche will not be underestimating Dougie Freedman’s men, who surrendered a 2-0 lead at home to Bournemouth at the weekend and sit 19th in the table.
“They’re a good side. They’ve got some real good individuals, a real deep squad and a good young manager,” he said.
“This division is hard and they’ve got their own challenges, we all have them, and they’ll try to see their way through their challenges to get a result.
“We’ll be building on our good form and good feel about the group, good energy and good play to get a result.
“We do our homework and we’re aware of the opposition but it always comes down to how you perform, how you put your tactics into play and how you deliver that.
“We believe in our planning, we believe in what we give the players, but it’s always down to them to go and deliver it and so far they’ve been delivering it very well – we look to do it again when the whistle blows (tonight).”
But given the depth of the Bolton squad, and Freedman’s frequent changes – added to their precarious position just five points above the relegation places, Dyche admitted it could be hard to predict what type of team they would face.
“It can be,” he said. “Most managers have a format as to how they want to work and in Dougie’s case it’s often 4-2-3-1 or a version of that. He has got lots of players who can play in different positions and can manipulate the team.
“I suppose like anyone it’s trying to find the balance, the mix, in order to get the wins that that want.”
Meanwhile, Bolton boss Freedman has admitted that he tried to sign Danny Ings before the Burnley striker hit top form this season.
Freedman took over as Bolton boss in October 2012 and says he attempted to take Ings to the Reebok Stadium.
The Scot had previously tried to sign Ings during his time as Crystal Palace manager, shortly before the forward moved from Bournemouth to Burnley.
On that occasion, Palace angered Bournemouth by putting in three bids during a pre-season friendly between the two clubs.
“We’ve been watching Danny a lot,” Freedman said. “He’s someone I’ve tried to sign on a number of occasions, during my time both here at Bolton and at Crystal Palace.”