Burnley are flying without Ings after drop back into Championship
When Lancashire club Burnley achieved promotion to the Premier League, they perhaps had one advantage over Leicester City (who performed miracles to survive) and QPR in the fact that they had a squad capable of bouncing straight back into the top flight.
Despite losing star man Danny Ings to Liverpool and promising right back Keiran Trippier to Tottenham, they have acclimatised to life back in the Championship somewhat seamlessly.
Currently third in the league, two points off Middlesbrough in an automatic promotion place, they are 11/4 with Coral to go up and, following an encouraging rebuild in the summer, appear to be in prime position to launch a credible assault.
Club record signing Andre Gray from Brentford already looks a good fit for the side and, despite picking up what could be a worrying injury in the goalless draw with Derby County, boss Sean Dyche has been pleased with the way he has gone about his business since joining.
“It’s been easy really. He’s confused whether he moved for £4m, £6m, £9m, £12m, £15m or £17m. He doesn’t actually know so he just gets on with it,” revealed a good humoured Dyche. “He probably think he’s moved for £750k. That’s an easy one for us to keep his mind on the job.”
Dyche, affectionately nicknamed ‘The Ginger Mourinho’, maintained though, that there is a good overall feeling among the squad and the atmosphere portrays an environment where everyone involved is taking it day-by-day, helped by Gray’s presence.
“Joking apart he’s in a place here where there’s an earthiness and a humility about how we work and a groundedness,” added Dyche. “I think he’s bought into the culture, the environment and the people who work here.
“It’s not like he’s bowling into a grandiose situation with everyone carrying on all the time. It’s not like that. There’s a high quality common sense approach to what we do here and how people operate.
“They do their jobs well and work very hard and enjoy it, no-one worries about the things that can get in the way – big moves and all that sort of stuff.”
While Ings was an integral part of the team during his time there, contributing 43 goals in 130 appearances, most of them coming in the last two seasons, there is a belief that former Brentford boy Gray can emulate him.
Dyche’s recruitment policy in the summer reflected that of his pragmatic approach as a manager whose stock is steadily on the rise. The signing of Joey Barton adds a steel to what was perhaps a soft underbelly to the team last season, and this albeit controversial player can have the requisite impact.
Creating a sense of competition at right back in the wake of Trippier’s sale to Spurs has seen Tendayi Darikwa, a capture from Chesterfield, establish himself ahead of proven Championship performer Matt Lowton, but signings such as these add strength in depth just in case vultures circle again.
Burnley are thus in great shape, despite the failed experiment of Jelle Vossen, to make an instant Premier League return.