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Clarets must stay calm in promotion race, says Micky Mellon
MICKY Mellon has urged Burnley to keep faith with the methods that have kept them in the top two for practically three quarters of the season, and pave the way to promotion.
The Clarets still need a maximum of five points to secure a return to the Premier League, with four Championship games remaining, following defeat at home to Middlesbrough.
Although it equated to the side’s first back-to-back Turf Moor defeats since November 2011, it was only their second home loss all season.
Former midfielder Mellon is confident it will not derail their prospects of going up automatically, providing they abide by the team ethics, resolve and resilience that the ex-Claret feels have served them well all season.
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“It’s just about keeping your nerve and remembering what got you there, to this stage, and sticking to that plan,” said the Scot, who speaks from experience having been instrumental in Burnley’s promotion season of 1999/2000.
“You’ve got to trust what you’ve done all season. You’re not there by fluke.
“You’ve played all these games that have got you here.
“The philosophy is to do what you’ve been doing because you’ve seen what gets results.
“It’s down to good management and good players playing at the top of their game.
“Individuals is for tennis or golf, it’s a team game and they all stick to the script. It’s very obvious to see they work hard on that.
“They don’t get disappointed if they don’t get the ball or they come under pressure because they know what their jobs are and have the necessary resilience.”
He added: “The work-rate and honesty has been really refreshing.
“It’s great to see a team that’s not got massive budgets of other teams doing well, otherwise it takes all hope for everybody if it’s always about money. It’s like a go-kart race where the best car wins.”
Burnley are in pole position for promotion, having spent only 12 games outside of the automatic promotion places since the 2013/14 campaign began.
They go into the Good Friday derby at Blackpool eight points clear of third placed Derby County.
It is possible that, should the Clarets win at Bloomfield Road, promotion could be sealed hours after the final whistle, with the Rams playing Doncaster Rovers in an evening kick-off.
Anything less than a win for Steve McClaren’s side will guarantee an automatic top flight return for Burnley, otherwise the promotion race will go into the Easter Monday fixtures. But Mellon says they cannot allow outside influences to dominate their thoughts.
“All you can do is focus on the next game and your own task, which for Burnley the next thing is to go and get something at Blackpool,” he said. “If everyone gives a seven or eight out of 10 performances and concentrates on that, Burnley will be fine.
“Forget about anything else that’s happening, just go out there and have that expectation for yourself and for the team. The problems will be when someone comes off plan.
“But I don’t expect that to happen.
“There’s a certain calmness that’s coming out of Burnley Football club.”
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