CLARETS boss Eddie Howe has laughed off speculation linking him with the Portsmouth job.
Betting patterns over the weekend, in the Bournemouth area, saw Howe move to 2/1 favourite for the vacant post, at the club where he spent two-and-a-half years as a player after becoming Harry Redknapp’s first signing at Fratton Park.
But after Saturday night’s emphatic 3-1 derby win over Blackpool, Howe reaffirmed his commitment to the job at Turf Moor.
Asked if the win reinforced his feelings about the job and the club, he said: “That’s never been in doubt. I’m 100% committed to Burnley.
“I’m really proud to be doing this job and proud to be asked to do it, and I want success for the Burnley fans more than anything.
“Hopefully we can do that in the coming year.”
The speculation on the eve of a big game wasn’t ideal, but he added: “I take it with a pinch of salt to be honest. I was always going to be here, there’s never any doubt in my own mind.
“I just laughed at it really.”
Howe now turns his focus to building on successive wins in the league at home to managerless Leicester City tonight (Tuesday).
Burnley climbed to 15th on Saturday, within six points of a play-off place with a game in hand.
And assistant boss Jason Tindall anticipates a tough test against the Foxes: “It’s another tough game.
“But we go into it very positive on the back of Saturday’s result, and the way we performed and the levels we reached.”
Sven-Goran Eriksson’s departure was a surprise to most outside of Leicester, but Tindall said: “Nothing surprises me any more.
“They brought Sven in, gave him all this money to spend, and he’s up the road when thing don’t work out.
“But look at Arsenal, people were writing them off a few weeks ago, and Arsene Wenger, but they go to Chelsea and put in a performance like they did.
“Now people are talking about them winning the Premier League, and what a great manager Arsene is.”
Eriksson guided City to a 4-0 win over Burnley at what was then the Walkers Stadium in April, and only two players who started that day for the Clarets are likely to do so tonight.
Tindall is happy with how things are shaping up though: “There’s obviously been big changes here, there’s been a big turnaround of players and we’re a very young group.
“But it’s a very good squad, although we are lacking a bit of experience, and consistency comes into it at some stage.
“We’re very pleased with the squad we’ve got, and the direction we’re going, with four wins in our last six, and we’re in good spirits.
“A lot of people probably don’t know that we’ve put that run together.
“There was a lot of negativity on the back of a couple of bad results, but it’s our job then to lift that with positive performances and positive results.
“We’ve managed to do that with back-to-back league victories, and we’ll go into the Leicester game full of confidence.”
Burnley have not lost a midweek home league game in four years, since QPR won at Turf Moor in the early stages of Owen Coyle’s reign, and Tindall admits that is a strange quirk: “Hopefully it will be the same against Leicester, but we can’t take anything for granted, especially against a club with such a terrific squad, they have some fantastic players that can hurt you at any time, so we have to make sure we’re 100% focused and ready.
“We believe we can beat anyone when we perform to our ability.”
Brian Easton is a doubt after a hip injury forced him on early on against Blackpool, while Michael Duff, while back training with the first team squad, is unlikely to feature.
Tindall said: “Easty is progressing well, and he’ll be assessed by the physios and hopefully will be available.
“Duffo is training with us and is very close, but we want to be sensible and not rush him back. He would say he could play, but we want to make sure when he comes back he doesn’t break down again.”