ROSS Wallace believes Burnley have the strongest chance of sustaining a play-off push this season than at any other time of this Turf Moor career.
The Clarets had just dropped out of the Premier League when Wallace became one of Brian Laws’ first signings ahead of the 2010/11 season.
It was hoped the club would mount a bid to make an immediate return to the top flight.
But that proved difficult after a mid-season change of manager, with Eddie Howe coming in to replace Laws in January.
Burnley made a tentative push for the top six last season, but their challenge fell away with time to spare.
The Clarets now sit five points off the top six but Wallace is optimistic about their long-term prospects under Sean Dyche.
The Scot, in the last season of his current contract, believes they are ready to take the next step and make a concerted push to secure a top six spot this season.
“It’s the first time really since I’ve been here that we have got close,” said Wallace, 27.
“We are still a bit out of the play-offs but we are close enough between now and the end of the season to have a little go at it.
“There are a few of us who have experienced it, playing in these sort of games, but we also have some young players who don’t really think about it.
“When you get older you might start thinking ‘I haven’t got that many (chances) left’ but we have a young team and they will just take it each game as it comes and just get on with it, not have it stuck in their head that we might be close to the play-offs.”
Former Celtic winger Wallace, who was a Championship winner with Sunderland in 2007, is pleased with his personal form too.
“Being a wideman I have still always worked. I couldn’t get away with anything less than working 100 per cent and if you asked Tripps (Kieran Trippier) I think he would say he enjoys working up and down the right with me because I work hard,” he said.
“I like to get forward and play but I do my fair share of running about as well.
“I have had this nice combination with Tripps and it has just worked like that. We have developed a good partnership down the right-hand side and hopefully we will continue to play well.”