IN-FORM winger Ross Wallace feels Jay Rodriguez can lead Burnley’s promotion charge.
Rodriguez’s 10th goal of the season was enough to take the three points at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday.
But that was tempered with the news that Charlie Austin has joined Steven Thompson and Martin Paterson on the sidelines, with all three strikers potentially missing the rest of the season with injury.
Wallace is confident the squad can cope, however, and he singled out England Under 21 international Rodriguez as a key figure: “He’s been superb.
“When he struck that ball I wasn’t surprised, because he does it in training pretty much every day.
“He’s a great lad and he loves Burnley.
“He’s just been the same all the way through the season.
“He’s quick, he’s athletic, he can score a goal.
“He’s going to be a real handful for team in the next 13 games.
“Jay’s composed, and as long as we keep the likes of him and big Chris fit … we’ve got options.
“Big Chris or Jay could play up there on their own, or with Chris Eagles just off them.
“We’ve got a number of options still but it’s disappointing to lose Thommo and Charlie as well, but we’ll get on with it.
“As we said at the start of the season we’ve got a big squad.
“We’ve got good players sitting on the bench still, but we’re happy enough I think.
“Alarm bells aren’t going at the minute, it’s just up to us to keep going and picking up three points.”
That quest continues tonight at Hull City, who lie a point and a place behind the Clarets in eighth.
Burnley, having not won back to back league games since August 2009, have now done it twice in a month, and Wallace has his sights on a third straight victory at the KC Stadium: “It would be nice. It would stick us right in there.
“It’s up to us to start winning games week in week out.”
“You’ve got to keep winning and grinding out games in the business part of the season.
“We’ve got to start producing three points week in week out and we seem to be doing all right at the minute.
“The top six haven’t really slipped. They keep playing well, so that keeps us on our toes.
“We’ve got to keep pushing them now.
“We’ve got two games in hand and those games are going to be vital.
“It’s tightened up from second all the way down.
“Play-offs are realistic for us as at the moment.
“And if we could sneak second, then that would be perfect.”
Wallace played a key role in the win over struggling Palace, turning in one of his best performances of the season.
He is flourishing under new boss Eddie Howe, and Wallace felt the side thoroughly merited the points against the Eagles after a dominant first half display: “I thought if a second goal went in after Jay’s goal it could have gone on to be three or four, but we just couldn’t get the second in the first half.
“When you play a team like Crystal Palace who are fighting for their lives at the bottom you’re going to come under pressure at some point in the second half, which we did, and I thought we handled it very well.”