MARTIN Paterson believes Burnley are still capable of repeating their promotion achievements of 2009 – insisting the Clarets will not let a play-off place out of their grasp if they can move into the top six in the near future.
Paterson was part of the Burnley side that gained promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs four years ago, with many of that team reuniting at Turf Moor last night as part of Brian Jensen’s testimonial year.
The Clarets spent a significant part of their promotion season inside the top six and the forward thinks that gave them the belief and hunger needed to ultimately secure their place in the top flight.
Burnley have moved up to seventh in the Championship table in recent weeks, and are now only four points behind sixth-placed Middlesbrough.
But they have not been able to break into the top six during any of the three seasons since relegation, often playing catch-up from mid-table, and Paterson thinks it could make a real difference if they could move into the play-off places in the next few weeks.
“I think yes,” he said. “I think if we could get in there, it’s not a belief of staying in there, it’s a determination to stay in there – if that makes sense.
“We have got a good chance, I think a few others have got a decent chance, and if we carry on working the way we do I think we’re going to be quite close. But it’s up to us to carry on.
“We know that, we’re not getting ahead of ourselves. But we are pushing for it, that’s for sure.
“We know we’re close but we’ve got to keep improving and keep pushing if we want to get in there and then cement ourselves in there.”
Paterson came off the bench to score Burnley’s equaliser in their 2-2 draw at Peterborough on Saturday but has said he wants to contribute more goals as the Clarets bid for promotion.
The 25-year-old netted 19 times when Owen Coyle’s side reached the Premier League in 2009 but the Clarets also had a number of other different goalscorers.
Wade Elliott scored the winner in the play-off final against Sheffield United at Wembley and scored six in total that season.
Steven Thompson and Graham Alexander both scored 11 goals with Robbie Blake netting nine times, while Chris Eagles and Chris McCann both found the net on eight occasions.
Such potency in front of goal played a key part in Burnley’s run of only one defeat in their last 14 games of that season.
Asked what it would need for the Clarets to go up this season, given his experience of the club’s previous promotion, Paterson said: “I think it’s a combination.
“Getting a good eight to 12-game run under your belt and goals coming from not just one person but three or four.
“Impacts from the bench like on Saturday as well, and it also takes a little bit of luck.
“But if you’re an honest team like we are, an honest bunch, sometimes you do get that luck. I’m hoping that we do.”
Burnley boss Sean Dyche was yesterday briefly linked with the Nottingham Forest job following Alex McLeish’s departure, having started his career in the youth team at the City Ground.
But the Clarets were quick to dismiss the speculation as without foundation, and Billy Davies was already being widely tipped to return to Forest for a second spell as manager.