IN-FORM sriker Charlie Austin feels the Clarets still have something to prove in the remainder of the season.
Play-off hopes have all but mathematically been ended, and, ahead of yesterday’s trip to Doncaster, 15-goal Austin admits Burnley have disappointed over the second half of the season.
A run of eight wins in 11 games between November and January saw them climb to a seasonal high of seventh, but only three more victories have followed in 13 further outings.
And the former Swindon striker insists the players will repeat Good Friday’s 1-0 success against Brighton and keep battling to the end of the season: “That’s the character of the lads, we’re pushing on for next season as well. I think next year will be a really good season for us.”
Asked whether the squad had something to prove, he said: “Definitely, especially after the second half of the season.
“We have sunk below par.
“If we can win our remaining games or at least go undefeated it will be a real boost for us for next season.”
Austin himself feels better for a full season in the Championship and believes he can only improve.
He arrived in January last year for a seven-figure fee, but made only four appearances before suffering a dislocated shoulder - and he had nine goals this term when a similar problem stunted his progress.
And he explained: “I’ve moved on leaps and bounds.
“The first half of the season I was fine, and then I got injured and struggled to get back in and I was low, but now I’m starting to build momentum to get to the end of the season.
“It is my first full season in the Championship. I’ve really enjoyed myself this year and hopefully I can push on.”
And he looked back on a dogged display in a feisty encounter against the Seagulls at Turf Moor: “It was a performance we needed to put in here.
“We’ve been lacklustre at home to say the least, but hopefully we can push on from now to the end of the season.
“To come from the high of Saturday at Portsmouth, in the first half on Tuesday against Birmingham we were a bit below par, then on Friday the first half was good, but the second half was a real battle.”
In the reverse fixture, Brighton had two players sent off in the opeming 12 minutes, and it was a similarly bruising game - with Austin forced off towards the end after a punch to the ribs from Adam El-Abd: “It was in the back of my mind what happened down there.
“We know we can play good football but it shows that we can play ugly. It’s good to know that we can play like that. It’s nice to be able to pass the ball around but sometimes you need to be able to put a few tackles in don’t you?
“When the back four play like they did in the second half – with Michael Duff and David Edgar at centre half – when we play like that no-one seems to score against us.”