Stuart Gray wants to leave Burnley FC well placed for the play-off places

Stuart Gray
Stuart Gray
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IT almost appears to have been lost amid the speculation, but Burnley take on Championship leaders QPR at Turf Moor on Saturday.

And caretaker boss Stuart Gray, who is to continue at the helm, is eager to make a dent into the play-off places.

Burnley lie 10th in the table, 13 points behind the leaders with a game in hand, and four points adrift of Watford in sixth.

Gray has two wins from his three games, with home wins over Sheffield United and the FA Cup success over Port Vale sandwiching a defeat at Reading.

And should it be his last game in charge, he intends to leave the new man in a good position.

He said this morning before meeting chairman Barry Kilby: “I would imagine I’ll be in charge.

“The board are still going through the process and the shortlist.

“I’m paid by Burnley Football Club to carry on until told otherwise.

“But it’s a great game for us, and the crowd will be up for it.

“At this moment in time, QPR are running away with the league, so it’s a good test for us.

“We’ve picked up again at home after a couple of disappointing games, scoring four against Sheffield United and Port Vale, and the one thing we do know is we’ve got goals in the team, from everyone.

“If we want to get into those play-off places or above, we have to be winning games like this, or at least taking points off them, and the team will be set up to win the game and hopefully dent QPR.”

Burnley have gone behind in the last six home league games at some stage, and Gray would love to get the first goal - and earn a rare clean sheet after 14 games without: “We have been conceding far too many goals, and we’ve gone behind in the last six league games at home, although there has usually been a response from the lads.

“All credit to them, they bounced back against Sheffield United - it could have been a very difficult game after Brian and Russ left, and then going a goal down when you wondered how we were behind after the first 20 minutes.

“The lads are scoring goals though, and hopefully we can keep them out at the other end.”

Burnley were the first visiting team to score at Loftus Road this season, with Graham Alexander equalising from the spot in a 1-1 draw, and Gray added: “Down there we were the first to score at their place, and we put in a decent performance and were a bit disappointed not to win the game.

“But we can only focus on this game, get the lads organised and ready.

“They have trained well, I certainly can’t fault their application and attitude.

“They are professional footballers and you’ve got to get on with things, they are paid to play football for Burnley.

“Everything has been spot on with them - they have no control over what goes on in the boardroom, all they can affect is on the pitch.”

Martin Paterson again looks set to miss the game with a thigh problem, but, bar Chris McCann, Gray has a full squad to select from otherwise: “The game will probably come too quickly for Pato - he will probably be back in full training next week.

“He’s broken down a couple of times since the initial injury, and the most important thing for him is that he is right when he comes back, and he stays fit when he is fit.

“There’s only Pato and Chris McCann missing, but Chris is going well, the specialist has been delighted with him.

“He’s not joining in in full training just yet, but it’s the same scenario as Pato, once he’s back, we want to make sure he stays back.

“He’s picking up his training, running, twisting, turning, kicking, but he’s not had physical contact just yet.

“We’re just trying to play it by the book. Getting Pato and Chris back will be like signing two new players.”