ASHLEY Westwood is hoping a friendly rivalry with Dwight McNeil will spur the Burnley pair on to bigger and better things this season.

The duo lead the way with assists for the Clarets this season, Westwood one of ahead of McNeil with five to the winger’s four.

Largely sharing free-kick and corner duties, the midfielder believes set pieces have been something of a weapon for Sean Dyche’s side and wants to see that continue.

McNeil tested Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga with one effort in the 3-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge last time out it was the 20-year-old’s delivery that nearly resulted in a goal for Jeff Hendrick, only for VAR to rule that Ben Mee was offside.

Westwood said: "We've looked a threat from set-pieces all season and we're still doing that. It's a big weapon to have. We work on them a lot, they're a big weapon for us with the two big lads at the back.

“It's something you need to have and me and Dwight are always out there practicing.

“His free-kick (against Chelsea) showed his quality and fair play to him, he's really taken the game on and we're proud of him.

"I've got more assists than him and I keep reminding him of that. He's doing very well and long may that continue.

“He's a great lad and he's coming out of his shell now. He gives me a bit of stick, but I just keep telling him that I'm still ahead of him on assists.

“He's a great lad and a great footballer.”

The Clarets welcome Leicester to Turf Moor on Saturday on the back of four straight defeats.

With a trip to Manchester United to follow on Wednesday night and Arsenal to come after the FA Cup fourth round meeting with Norwich Dyche’s side have an uphill task improving on their position of 15th and three points above the bottom three.

But Westwood is staying positive and points to the fact that they are just four points behind the Gunners in 10th in a congested top flight table.

“We’re an honest group, we're a hard-working group and it's down to us to turn it around,” said the 29-year-old.

"The gaffer is always uplifting. You have a look at the results but you can't dwell on it in this game. If you do that then you'll find yourself in a big hole and that's one thing we don't do. We'll work hard and on Sunday we can hopefully get a good result.

"The league is so close this year. Up until the Sheffield United result (against West Ham United) we were five points off them, that's how crazy the league is.

“We'll just focus on ourselves and see where that takes us."