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'Burnley players need to ignore boss speculation'
Clarets duo Lee Grant and Michael Duff have called for the players to avoid letting speculation about the new boss become a distraction, and instead focus on fostering a winning habit.
Burnley go into tonight’s game at Bristol City still without a manager, after the board extended their search from 15 initial targets to around 20.
Second interviews were expected to get underway early this week, but as of yesterday the club were understood to still be meeting with new candidates, with at least one interviewed on Monday.
Grant revealed prospective targets were the talk of the club off the field.
But after registering a 1-0 win over Blackpool in the first game of caretaker boss Terry Pashley’s stint, the keeper urged the Clarets to back up that performance at Ashton Gate tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).
“There is a lot of talk before training and after,” he explained.
“Once we're out there we're training hard and working hard, but when we have five minutes to ourselves there's a lot of chat … 'do you know this manager or that manager, I've heard he might be in the running, what's he like?'.
“It's really out of our hands. For us it's a case of really concentrating on the next game and the game after that because unfortunately we haven't got a say in what happens upstairs.”
Defender Duff echoed the sentiment, saying: “As a footballer you get used to managers coming and going.
“It might be more difficult for some of the younger ones because it’s the first time it’s happened to them, but because others have experienced it a few times we can maybe help them.
“At the moment there are a lot of rumours. The players are exactly the same as the supporters when it comes to this situation.
“We hear there have been interviews and there are going to be second interviews, but hand on heart I couldn’t tell you one of the ones they have spoken to. So it’s good that there are games coming up.
“It had been a bit of a turbulent few days so it was nice to get the focus back on the football.
“It was important we won the game on Saturday, not just for Pash but for ourselves and the club.
“We feel we should be higher in the league than what we are. Saturday was the start of hopefully climbing up the league.
“One thing we have struggled with is putting back-to-back performances and results together in this league.
“It’s easy to say consistency, but there are so many games and travelling involved.
“But if you can do that it can rocket you up the league.
“Bristol City are a decent team but if we can build on Saturday that’s important, and hopefully we can get a positive result.”
And Duff stressed the importance of sustaining their defensive resolve.
“We’ve given too many goals away this season. That was the key for Saturday - not just the back four but the work ethic from the whole team,” he said.
“Blackpool had long spells during the second half when they had us camped in, but we defended from the front all the way through. I thought we looked solid.
“We’ve been too open previously and almost tried to play too much football at times. With the players we’ve got sometimes we try to over play. We play an expansive game, which is sometimes detrimental.
“It’s getting that fine balance and on Saturday I thought we did that quite well.
“We looked a threat going forward but we tightened the gaps between units.
“The fact that Charlie (Austin) only had to score one goal to win us a game was a nice feeling for everyone.”
If Austin continues his scoring streak against Bristol City tonight he will equal a club record set by Ray Pointer in the 1958/59 season with a goal in eight straight league and cup games.
It was also break Pointer’s record of 12 goals in seven games, putting Austin - who has 12 goals in seven games - on the most prolific run in the club’s history.