TOM Heaton believes the current Burnley squad is strong enough to sustain their promotion challenge, and insists there would not be cause for panic if no further January additions were made.
Sean Dyche made Ashley Barnes his first paid-for signing in over a year in charge this month, on a three-and-a-half-year deal from Brighton.
The Clarets boss remains in the market for more new faces to boost the squad going into the final 20 games of the season.
But although Burnley slipped out of the automatic promotion places after being held to a 1-1 draw by Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend, goalkeeper Heaton feels they are equipped enough to cope with the rigours of the run-in regardless of whether squad numbers increase or not.
“If the club and the staff feel it’s right to add a few players along the way then so be it, but we certainly won’t be looking at it that way, we’ll be just looking to continue what we’ve done so far.
“It may make things a bit easier perhaps with a few more bodies, but it’s something we probably won’t think about as players so much, just concentrate on trying to continue and improve on what we’ve done so far,” said Heaton, who is one of just 18 players to start for the Clarets this season.
Burnley have used the least number of players in total this season, with 22 turning out for the team in league and cup – four less than the next lowest, Ipswich, with 26. Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday have used the most, with 34.
But with both of those teams struggling, despite the depth of their squad, Heaton says those statistics give a good indication how fewer players can be more productive.
“You get that consistency of performance,” said the stopper.
“I think over the last few years, in my humble opinion, there’s almost too much rotation perhaps, a little bit too much resting and this that and the other.
“We’ve been a prime example in the Christmas period of getting some good results and some great performances and not using that many players. You sort of get that feel that if you switch your mindset to ‘this is what’s happening, strap up and get on with it’, that’s what you do. I think that’s how we’ve been and how we’ll continue to be.
“There are positives and negatives to both sides of it.”
Heaton accepted that the possibility of being struck by injuries was a concern, but not an over-riding one.
“There’s always the loan market I suppose these days,” he said.
“There’s no point telling you there’s not a physical aspect to a lot of games in a short space of time. The lads probably felt fatigued at times (over Christmas) but they managed to find that second wind.”