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Heaton: Burnley fans the difference in Barnsley win
CLARETS keeper Tom Heaton said a wall of noise at Oakwell helped Burnley move a step nearer the Premier League.
Almost 3,500 travelling fans swelled the away end at Barnsley, cheering their side to a 1-0 win and a 10th away game unbeaten.
Heaton, practically a spectator in the game, credited the back four for their role in the team’s 18th clean sheet this season, after Ashley Barnes scored with an early header.
But the 27-year-old admitted the impact of a vocal away following could not be underestimated either.
“It was a fantastic following. You come away from home on a Tuesday night and there are that many fans there, it’s incredible really and gives you that extra push,” said Heaton.
“The manager calls it a one-club mentality and it’s such a massive boost as players when you get that noise.
“I can’t imagine there are many teams around the country on a Tuesday night away from home who will have that.”
Manager Sean Dyche added of the away contingent: “Amazing!
“They never stopped singing and that can only help, for sure.
“We’ve had some great moments with the fans this season and hopefully more to come.”
Burnley could celebrate a return to the Premier League with a win over Middlesbrough on Saturday, should Derby fail to beat Huddersfield Town.
Heaton acknowledges that, should should they secure automatic promotion this weekend, it would be fitting for it to come at Turf Moor.
“It would be fantastic,” he said.
“It’s obviously not completely in our hands, the only thing we can focus on is what’s right in front of us and that’s Middlesbrough.
“Middlesbrough beat us 1-0 away from home so it’s something we’ll be looking to put right.
“They’re a good outfit and we’re looking forward to it. We’ll go about it in the right manner and focus on what we need to do, and hopefully if we do what we know we can we’re going to give ourselves a great chance of winning the game.
“We’re in a fantastic position, a few points clear, there’s no getting away from that. There’s still a lot of work to be done.
“Inside that dressing room we’re looking forward and not behind. There’s a determination there to get to the top.”
Of Tuesday’s win, Heaton added: “It was a night for concentration. Barnsley threw an aerial bombardment at times on us and I have to say credit to the lads, especially the back four, they defended resolutely and that gave us a base to go and win the game.
“I don’t think it was the prettiest game you’ve ever seen but credit to Barnsley, they were well organised and giving it a right go, on their home turf and fighting for their lives. We knew that was going to be the case and we had to match them and go beyond that, and I think we did that at times.
“The early goal gave us something to hold on to.
“It’s been a factor of this season that we can do both things, we can go forward and we can defend and soak up a bit of pressure, which I thought we did superbly.”
Clarets boss Dyche agreed with Heaton’s assesment.
“We never really looked in trouble, I thought the back four were outstanding and Tom (Heaton) did what he had to do when he needed to do it,” said Dyche.
“I’m really pleased with the defensive framework of the team, as I have been since I’ve been here.”
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