'˜We have to take care of business' '“ Clarets boss
Clarets boss Sean Dyche's focus remains on his players and not Burnley's promotion rivals, going into the last six games of the season.
The Clarets host Leeds United at Turf Moor on Saturday (kick-off 12-30 p.m.), having had their lead at the top of the Championship cut to a point on Tuesday night.
Second-place Middlesbrough – who have a game in hand and come to Turf Moor a week on Tuesday – beat Huddersfield Town, as Burnley were held at home to Cardiff City.
And Brighton moved to within two points after a win at Birmingham.
Dyche knows Burnley remain masters of their own destiny, however, and said: “The one thing we can do is focus on ourselves.
“We can’t define what everyone else is going to do, all the ins and outs and ups and downs of results.
“We have to take care of business ourselves, as we have been. Tuesday was another clean sheet, that’s 16 this season.
“It’s rare we don’t score, we’re the highest scorers in the division. If you keep making chances like that, you’ll score goals, that’s for sure.
“Six to go and you have to keep winning.”
Burnley, of course, have the experience of having won promotion to the Premier League as Championship runners-up two years ago, while Boro are looking for a return to the top flight after seven seasons at this level, losing last year’s play-off final at Wembley against Norwich.
Brighton have yet to play in the Premier League, having been relegated from the old First Division in 1983, the same year they lost an FA Cup Final replay against Manchester United.
Dyche isn’t overly concerned with what has happened in the past: “It comes down to delivering performances.
“The experience of having done it subliminally helps.
“Players can deal with it.
“But there’s no defining moment that experience helps you.”
And he called on the fans to maintain their backing all the way down the line.
Tuesday was a nervy evening, and Dyche said: “They are getting behind us.
“They were brilliant down at Brighton and we need that support going down the last six games.”
Burnley have everyone available to face Steve Evans’ Leeds, bar Lukas Jutkiewicz, who is back in full training after his cruciate knee ligament injury, and Chris Long, who has a hamstring strain.
Scott Arfield is fit, despite being taken off just after the hour mark in the last two games, having reported back from international duty with Canada early with a back strain.
Dyche explained: “He’s had a bit of a niggly back, sometimes it’s just not your night.
“He was a bit quiet (on Tuesday), but generally he’s fine, he’ll be fine.”
Rouwen Hennings is also available after a slight Achilles problem, and Lloyd Dyer – yet to make the 18 after joining as a free agent following the goal-less draw at Reading in mid-February – is another player under consideration: “Rouwen’s fine, but there’s only so many we can play, and Lloyd Dyer as well.”
Ashley Barnes has returned to play a role as a late substitute in the last two games, and might have forced a late winner against Cardiff from a Matt Taylor corner.
Dyche said: “He was ever so unlucky with his chance at the near post, great movement and a great save.
“He’s come on and affected the game.
“He’s another weapon for us.”
Dyche felt it was a “pretty powerful performance” against Cardiff, despite the frustration of finishing goal-less, and he is in defiant mood going into the last six games: “I have to look at the whole season. Add those three draws after six wins on the trot, you wouldn’t bat an eyelid. That’s the reality of it. From Boxing Day we’ve come from eight points behind the top boys, who had a game in hand as well, and we’re top of the league, so there’s a lot of good work been done and a lot more to do. And it is work, there are six really big games coming up and they’re all important.”
“We’re showing good signs of our mental strength, to grip that game second half and still be creating chances in the last minutes shows we’re in it to win it and doing everything we can.”