BURNLEY boss Sean Dyche is determined to play it cool as the promotion race hots up.
Saturday’s visit of third-placed Derby County presents the Clarets with a chance to open up a five-point gap to second place, after they stretched their advantage over top six rivals Nottingham Forest to eight points with a 3-1 win at Turf Moor.
It stretched Burnley unbeaten home run to 20 Championship games, with seven more to come this season.
But while the Rams will be eyeing up a raid, after becoming serious promotion contenders since Steve McClaren took charge in September, Dyche said: “We’re not afraid of anyone, we look to play our way whoever we play.”
A formidable first-half performance was enough to blow Forest away at the weekend.
But Dyche insists they will not rely on that result as a springboard for their next top six showdown.
Asked if the Forest win would set his side up well for the Derby game, the Clarets boss said: “I think they all set you up well.
“Bournemouth wasn’t one of our best performances but another valuable point.
“You can’t always define that.
“We debriefed the last game but then we clear our minds and get ready for the next one.
“The strong mentality we’ve got, I think we can come out of any situation and deliver again so that’s what we’re looking to do.”
Meanwhile, the Clarets boss refused to regard the visits of either Forest or Derby as the so-called six-pointers in the Premier League push.
“Factually it’s three points whichever way you look at it, whether you’re playing top middle or bottom,” he continued.
“It’s fair to say Saturday had a bit more feel to it because the expectation is so big at Forest.
“They hadn’t lost in 14.
“They have a very high quality squad of players.
“But we value what we’re doing here and we value the players we’ve got.”
However, after adding Ashley Barnes to his attacking options in the January transfer window, Dyche remains on the lookout for further reinforcements for the run-in through the ‘emergency loan’ system.
“We’ve still got open lines of communication with a number of parties. Some have to wait until a gap opens up but if there are some that we think can give us strength in depth and we’ll utilise that as we see fit.”