Burnley bouncing back to Premier League promotion with record profit
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | April 5, 2016
Since Boxing Day, Burnley have gone on a 16-match unbeaten run (W11, D5) in the Championship that gives a four-point cushion in an automatic promotion place with seven games remaining.
Profits a product of prudence
Couple that form catapulting them to the top of the table with Sean Dyche’s team posting record profits of a shade over £30m, and it seems everything at Turf Moor is coming up smelling of roses.
The Clarets are a club of modest means, and their prudent financial model is clearly paying off after making just one big signing in second-tier leading marksman Andre Gray following relegation.
Coral make Burnley 10/11 favourites to lift the Championship title ahead of pre-season favourites Middlesbrough, and silverware is something defender Michael Keane is targeting with the run-in now upon the Lancashire outfit.
“We want to go up and be champions”
“Obviously we want to go and be champions, we want to win the league,” Keane told reporters, after the Clarets twice came from behind to take a point at former leaders Brighton and Hove Albion. “That is our aim, but we’ve got to take it one game at a time.
“We feel like no one can beat us at the minute. Even when we’re down and we don’t play well we just keep going, stick to what we believe in and it’s paid off again.
“We’ve got seven games, so there are a lot of points to play for. A lot of the players have done it before, so hopefully they can help see the players like myself over the line who have never done it.”
Dyche enhancing reputation by staying put
A home game with Boro on Tuesday, April 19th is already being billed as a Championship title decider. The Clarets could do with tightening up in defence ahead of that with just a couple of clean sheets in their last seven outings.
Burnley boss Dyche has showed loyalty to the club, despite being linked with Premier League vacancies at Sunderland and Aston Villa. He is likely to pass both of those sides by this summer, which validates him staying put.
Seeing the board announce those record profits is accompanied by the promise of further squad investment to come once the Clarets confirm their Premier League return. Tabloid reports suggest Dyche will be given a war chest and room to bring up to eight new names this summer.
With the goals of Gray added in attack, the experience of a mature Joey Barton in midfield, and defenders drafted in to cover departures at the back, this team still retains plenty of Premier League players and successful previous promotion campaigners.
As Keane alludes to above, those who have been there, done that when it comes to going up from the Championship looked to have proved the difference for Dyche in the end.
Expensively-assembled squads like those of Middlesbrough, Roses rivals Hull City and Midlands men Derby County have lacked that close-knit togetherness that has long been associated with the Turf Moor team, admittedly initially through a shoestring budget.
Two to tango up front
Proven Clarets strike pairing Gray and Sam Vokes, now fully fit and firing after a knee injury around this time two years ago soured the promotion party somewhat, have scored with 44 league goals between them since the former was bought from Brentford.
There is nothing flashy about these players; they just do their job and find the net. Wales target man Vokes will be a handful at the Euros is chosen to spearhead the attack alongside pacy Real Madrid threat Bale.
Both Vokes and Gray, overwhelming odds-on 1/8 favourite to be Championship top scorer, will relish proper cracks at the Premier League, with the former not really seeing much action after being sidelined before Burnley’s last top-flight campaign.
Run-in holds no fears
Supporting them are the likes of Scott Arfield and George Boyd, grafters from the flanks rather than guileful wingers. Dyche just has a solid outfit all-round and, having kept the bulk of his roster together, that makes his side better-equipped for future challenges.
Although the Clarets have a relatively difficult run-in that features fixtures with four of the current top 10 Championship teams, their momentum, confidence and unity make them worthy title favourites.
Everyone at Burnley is benefiting from another hugely successful season, and there is certainly the stamina and determination in Dyche and his players to get them back into the Premier League in style.