9:10am Friday 16th May 2014
By Suzanne Geldard
CAPTAIN Jason Shackell believes Burnley’s promotion principles are worth sticking with, insisting they will stand them in good stead for life in the Premier League.
A survival plan is what will immediately be set out for the Clarets, who are already among the bookmakers’ favourites for relegation.
Burnley were unfortunate to last only one season in the top flight following promotion via the Championship play-offs in 2009, after enduring a shock mid-season change of manager.
But Shackell feels Burnley are now well equipped to stay in the division, based on the manner in which they achieved promotion as Championship runners up under boss Sean Dyche, having defied relegation odds in the process.
“We had a small squad and people were writing us off before the season started,” said the skipper, who was at the heart of the Championship’s best defence, with 19 clean sheets and only 37 goals conceded in the league.
“We’ve shown character on more than one occasion this year when we could have gone under. It’s been phenomenal.
“The lads have been great and worked incredibly hard.
“They’ve really come to the front line when they’ve been called upon and everyone’s played their part.”
They are qualities that the centre half feels will be required in order to sustain their top flight status.
“It’s huge,” said Shackell, who was named in the PFA Championship team of the year having played every minute of Burnley’s 51 league and cup games.
“The lads know what the gaffer requires and what we now all require from ourselves.
“I think that stands us in good stead. We’re organised, we know what the gaffer wants and hopefully if we can add one or two new faces we’ll be in a good position for an exciting challenge next year.”
While Premier League survival would go down as a bigger achievement, Shackell says their success this term is something that will stay with him for a long time.
“I’m so proud of the lads,” said the 30-year-old.
“It’s been an unreal season in so many ways.
“It’s just been a great year.”
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