BURNLEY manager Eddie Howe admits he is encouraged by the character his depleted squad has shown in the run-in, even if it doesn’t result in a late play-off charge.
The Clarets boss was forced to send out a number of walking wounded for the Easter Monday game at Doncaster Rovers, after coming out on top of their physical battle against Brighton.
Kieran Trippier limped over the line in the Good Friday win after a late challenge by Craig Noone, midfielder Marvin Bartley came off on the half-hour while Charlie Austin and Danny Ings both suffered minor knocks.
The day before the game, a scan had revealed Ben Mee had suffered a small fracture in his back during the win at Portsmouth the previous weekend.
After beating Brighton, Howe admitted he feared he may not have enough senior professionals available for selection at Doncaster.
In the end, the Burnley manager was forced into only one change, and thanked his players for a brave effort.
“We had to chuck them out there. We have got a few players struggling, but they put their game faces on and had a right go,” he said.
“We don’t have too many options so we really needed to get them out there to play.”
And Howe admitted he was pleased with the response from the players.
“I think there have been really good signs,” he continued.
“Ross Wallace has played at left back for three games and has been excellent.
“They are really good signs not just for him but everyone who has knuckled down and really given everything for the club.
“You can see that in their performances.
“It’s perceived on the outside as if we’ve nothing to play for, inside there’s everything to play for, for us.
“We want to win every game and I think the lads have been great.”
Howe has given debuts to three youth team stars in the last three games, all as late second-half substitutes.
Shay McCartan was the latest to get his first team bow on Easter Monday.
But Howe is wary of becoming too reliant on the club’s young players in the last four games, especially with the top six coming back into view thanks to a run of three wins out of four.
“We need our pros fit and out there,” he said. “We’ll see if we can get any back for Saturday (against Coventry).”