FORMER Burnley promotion winner Graham Alexander says the club will be better prepared for life in the Premier League if they get there again.
The Clarets are favourites to join Leicester City in earning the second automatic promotion slot, needing just a maximum of five points to guarantee it, with 12 still to play for.
A second promotion in five years could be sealed as early as tonight, should Burnley beat Blackpool and Derby fail to beat Doncaster Rovers.
And Alexander, an ever-present in Burnley’s 61-game play-off winning season, feels it is through that recent experience that his old club will know how to tackle the top flight again.
“The year we had in the Premier League will stand the people in charge of the club in good stead if they do it, which I’m sure they will,” said the former right back turned defensive midfielder.
“It is a big difference, and you never know how big a difference until you’re there.
“But they’ve got that experience behind them now so that when they go up, hopefully they will stay up.
“Sean Dyche will be under no illusions as to how difficult it will be, but it’s difficult to get promoted.”
And having extra time to plan for the Premier League if their fate is decided over the Easter weekend is also something that Alexander feels can work to Burnley’s advantage.
“When we went up we weren’t even sure of the play-offs until the last day of the season, then to go to a final – you can’t plan anything until after that,” said the 42-year-old, who during his time at Turf Moor became only the second outfield player in English football to reach 1,000 senior games.
“Being a manager now I can understand how difficult that would be.
“I know Sean wouldn’t have pre-empted anything but you do plan for both options.
“Finishing the season in regular time will be a massive bonus to give them plenty of time to plan.
“It will be difficult to do what you’ve got to do, it’s always difficult for any newly promoted team to compete at any level and in the Premier League the massive clubs attract the best players. But going up automatically would at least give them a headstart on the third promoted team and that could be the difference on one or two players you might get in, and that could be the difference in staying up.”
Should Burnley be successful at Bloomfield Road in today’s Good Friday tea-time kick-off, live on Sky Sports, they will face an anxious wait for the outcome of Doncaster v Derby to find out whether they are promoted or not.
But Alexander said: “I don’t think there’s a bad way to be promoted.
“I know it will be a bit of a time delay if they were to get the win at Blackpool. But if they get the win, whenever the news comes through that they’re promoted it will be the best feeling anyway.”