The cup can help cure away day blues - Keane
Defender Michael Keane is hopeful that the FA Cup will once again provide the foundation to help the Clarets kick on.
Last season Sean Dyche’s side beat Middlesbrough 2-1 at the Riverside in the third round of the competition, a tie which was nestled in the early stages of a 23-match unbeaten run in the Championship.
The Clarets were fifth prior to that tie being played but went on to win the title.
This time, with Premier League survival the objective, Burnley travel to the Stadium of Light in search of their first away win of the term against Sunderland.
“It should be good and it’s a nice change,” said the England international. “The FA Cup is a fantastic competition and we want to go to Sunderland and put in a good performance
“If we get a win there it could kickstart our away form for the season so it’s a big game for us.
“When we won away at Middlesbrough in the FA Cup last season I thought that was a big moment for us and it also sent them on a bit of a bad run so the cup can give you confidence and momentum.
“It’s not one to brush aside at all because it’s a massive competition and we’ll be looking to win.”
Andre Gray’s hat-trick on New Year’s Eve, the first top flight treble netted for the club since Peter Noble in 1975, inspired the Clarets to a 4-1 win over the Black Cats at Turf Moor.
However, Keane is expecting a sterner test against David Moyes’s side when they go head-to-head in the North East.
“I’m sure it won’t be that easy; I’ll be surprised if it is,” he said. “We’ll go in to it with confidence, obviously we know what we did to them and hopefully we can do something similar.
“We’ve proven that we can match anyone on our day. We’re hard to beat and we can nick a goal.
“There’s no reason why we can’t go far in the competition so we’ve just got to take it one step at a time and focus on Sunderland now.”
After conceding 15 goals in their first six games on the road the Clarets are getting closer, losing by a one-goal margin on their last three outings.
And the 23-year-old centre-back has been enthused by recent displays, particularly against Spurs and Manchester City where both games resulted in 2-1 defeats.
“The last two games against Spurs and City haven’t been easy,” he said. “We lost 2-1 in both and could’ve nicked a draw in both. Another time we could’ve got a result and gone away happy but it wasn’t to be.
“We played well against Spurs especially. We started the game really well here and we were always in the game even though it didn’t quite go our way. It shows the level that we can perform at and we just need to keep that up.
“Hopefully when we play teams who perhaps haven’t got the quality of these teams we’ll get something.”