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'Proud' Claret can't wait for QPR collision
GOALKEEPER Tom Heaton goes into tomorrow’s top of the table clash with QPR ‘proud to be a Claret’, and he knows he isn’t the only one.
Burnley’s position at the head of the Championship has led to a feel-good factor sweeping through the club and the town.
And Heaton, who comes from a long line of Burnley fans, says they are looking to feed off that positivity as they prepare to face Harry Redknapp’s expensively assembled side at Turf Moor tomorrow.
“I haven’t felt there’s an expectation, I’ve felt more excitement and pride,” he said.
“It’s probably fair to say we were the dark horses, I don’t think anyone was expecting this other then inside these four walls previously, but people are noticing how well we’re doing and jumping on the bandwagon.
“It’s a very good feeling to have, and that’s the feeling that I’ve been getting through living locally and speaking to family members, and also people around the town.
“There’s a sense of wanting to keeping it going rather than expectation - I think that was taken away at the start of the season.
“There were a few doom-mongers with Charlie (Austin) going thinking it wasn’t going to go well.
“But we’ve forgotten all that and people are starting to see that’s how we’re approaching it.
“People want to be involved in it, it’s a good way to look at things and it’s stood us in good stead.”
And Heaton says the united front being encouraged at Turf Moor is proving a formidable factor for the opposition.
“I’ve certainly felt the fans really get behind the team in terms of the noise coming out of the place, and the travelling fans again on Saturday were fantastic,” said the stopper.
“The manager’s mentioned a few times about one club mentality. It really is evident at the minute. That can be tough for teams to come up against if you’ve got everyone pulling in the right direction. But it goes beyond the players really, the staff, it probably brings in the fans and the whole club.
“That’s what he’s getting at and it is a powerful attitude.”
League leaders Burnley go into tomorrow’s showdown with second placed QPR boosted by a seven-game winning run.
They face former striker Charlie Austin, who has hit form himself with five goals n his last four outings. But Heaton is braced to put up the barricades for his old team-mate, who goal rush includes three penalties.
“I’ve got an inkling where he’ll go if it comes to that,” said the summer signing.
“I had the majority of pre-season with Charlie - a fantastic lad and a fantastic player - and I think he got a move that suited him at the time.
“I got on really well with him while he was here. I think he’s a superb player and I hope it goes well for him but we’ll certainly be looking to keep him quiet and the other players on the pitch (tomorrow).
“We’re perhaps fortunate in a way to have played with Charlie and perhaps know his game and how he plays. Whether that works in your favour or not is difficult to tell. We won’t be spending too much focus on any individuals though. We accept they’ve got some talented players in their squad but we know it’s about us and what we bring to the park.”
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