SEAN Dyche believes Burnley are set for a sprint finish in the race for promotion.
The Clarets go into today’s crunch lunchtime game with leaders Leicester City knowing that a win by two clear goals will send them top – knocking the Foxes off for the first time since Boxing Day.
And rather than tiring as the season goes into the last eight games, Dyche feels his small squad have got the stamina to go the distance.
“We are getting stronger, we are covering more ground with greater energy,” said the Burnley boss, whose side boast an unbeaten home record in the Championship beyond a full calendar year.
“The ProZone stats prove that and I’m very proud of that, let alone anything else – the mentality and the physicality.”
But with so much to play for, boss Dyche says there is no question of the Clarets being prepared to let their foot off the gas in the run-in.
“We are hungry for more, we have to continue the hard work that the players are putting in on a daily basis,” he said. “The stats are through the roof.
“And we all know we have quality and can play really good football to achieve wins.”
But while Dyche knows what a comfortable win over Leicester would mean to the league table, he is refusing to read too much into it long-term, despite clawing back what at the start of February was a 13-point deficit to the Foxes to just three points.
“Things turn around quickly, you can’t take it for granted, it’s a topsy-turvy division.
“Everyone fights in this division. The players have been very professional so far - but it’s only so far.
“There is still work to do,” said the Burnley boss.
“I don’t take it for granted because I don’t think it's relevant – until that last game finishes, whenever that last game comes, nothing is decided.
“It’s for fans and pundits to look at.
“The journey is relevant for how we are building and developing.
“Destination is the key – and that’s only decided after the last game is played.
“We’ve said it all season, one game at a time, and today’s another challenge. Obviously there’s a big challenge because they (Leicester) are the market leaders.”
Of the prospect of going top today, for the first time since December, Dyche added: “It’s not the mantra and I don't think it’s Nigel’s (Pearson).
“He’ll be making sure his troops are ready for whatever comes at them. They were throwing everything at Yeovil.
“I don’t think anyone takes it for granted in this division.
“You have to be on your mettle all the time. We’ve shown good signs we are.”
Leicester boss Pearson admitted his side would have to “work very hard” to avoid surrendering pole position today for the first time in three months.
“Burnley have clearly made Turf Moor a very difficult place to go to,” he said.
“What you have to give them an awful lot of credit for this season is the way they’ve gone about playing throughout the entire season.
“They have been very consistent. They have been up there from the start.
“For us to go there now we will have to work very hard to remain at the top but we intend to do that.”