Clarets boss Sean Dyche admits he is happy with his side’s progress as the international break brings a temporary halt to their Championship charge.
Burnley sit third in the table, two points behind leaders Hull City, after Saturday’s goal-less draw with Wolves at Molineux.
After one defeat in 13 league games, the Clarets’ next test comes a week on Sunday in front of the television cameras at Turf Moor against unbeaten second-place Brighton.
And, a third of the way into the campaign, Dyche is pleased with how things are going: “I think Hull have a very deep squad, experience-wise, they haven’t lost too many big players, and I’d be amazed if they’re not strong, and they’ve won again.
“Behind that, there’s a clutch of teams that, yet again, on paper, will probably be amongst it.
“But it’s still early yet. Us managers don’t just throw that out there to dampen any mood, but we’re 15 games in, you’re a third of the season and there’s a lot can happen in the next two thirds of the season.
“It’s the reality of it. We’re going very well, I’m enjoying how the team is coming together, and we’ve got a lot of good points on the board.
“We can only focus on ourselves and that’s what we’ll do.”
That meeting with Chris Hughton’s Brighton catches the eye, but, as ever, no game is bigger than another with Dyche: “If it’s not just another match, then what happened at Forest with Derby on Friday night?
“You have to treat them all the same because you can’t guarantee in the Championship that you beat top, middle or bottom.
“You have to be ready for every challenge, Wolves went down (in 2013) and no one thought they would have that season.
“It’s how difficult the Championship is.
“A good point here isn’t to be overthought.”
Of the first team squad, Sam Vokes, Tom Heaton and Stephen Ward are on international duty, but Dyche will work with the rest of the squad over the break: “A few knocks and a bit of recovery period and there’ll be some work, but definitely some time off as well. The relentless nature of how the games come round in the Championship, you have to find that balance between work and rest, and we think we do that well.”
Vokes suffered a groin problem at former club Wolves on Saturday, while Ben Mee with withdrawn with a tight hamstring.
Dyche hopes taking the pair off quickly with limit the damage: “Vokesy had a tight groin and you could tell it was beginning to be on his mind the five or 10 minutes before we got him off.
“Ben Mee had a tight hamstring before the game, which is why Chris Long was off the bench, and Kevin Long was on the bench, because Keano (Michael Keane) got a knock in the week,
“So the break is a chance to recover all of them, and obviously we’re hopeful on that.”
Mee also took an arm to the face in the first half, and Dyche joked: “He might have lost a tooth, hopefully a yellow one, not a white one!”
The extra fortnight gives midfielder Dean Marney more time to work towards a first team return, having been out of action since the start of February with a cruciate knee ligament injury, and Dyche said: “He’ll play as many games as we can get in these two weeks, with common sense, but he’s had two full 90s and he’s getting there for sure.”
Kevin Long, who suffered a similar injury on New Year’s Day, was back on the bench at Molineux after a long road back to fitness, and Dyche admitted it was a boost: “We’re very attacking with our bench usually, which limits defenders’ chances, but we wanted the extra one, and it worked well.”