WADE Elliott has backed Burnley to be the surprise package of the Premier League – and survive in it.
The winger, left, fired the Clarets up with his Wembley winner the last time they achieved top flight football.
The experience was to be short-lived, with Burnley relegated after just one season.
But five years on Elliott believes the club benefited from that season and thinks Burnley are better equipped – both on and off the field – to not only stay up but surprise the Premier League.
“It will be a brilliant experience for everyone to be involved in,” said the winger.
“The club itself is probably a lot better prepared for the Premier League and the set-up than when we went up, just from the lessons learned from when we did it.
“You would hope they’ve got a really good fighting chance of having a good season next year. They are there on merit, they’ve earned the right to be there and be in that company.
“They showed everyone over the course of last season what a good team they were and they can go into it without much fear.
“There are some really good individuals in the team. They are a much better team than maybe people coming up against them will give them credit for.
“They have every reason to not be fearful. There’s no pressure on them, they’ll have fantastic backing from the town.”
And Elliott believes hosting Chelsea in their first game is the ideal start, with echoes of their 2009 home opener against Manchester United, when Robbie Blake scored in a 1-0 win that got Turf Moor rocking.
“Chelsea will probably be comparable to our first home game against United,” said the 35-year-old, who has been reunited with his first Burnley boss, Steve Cotterill, at Bristol City.
“It’s a brilliant fixture to start. The atmosphere at Turf Moor next year will be comparable to anything anywhere in the Premier League.
“The lads probably tasted it at the end of last season when the big games were building up, but when it’s packed and the crowd get behind you it’s a brilliant place to play your football.
“If we go over teams that have done well invariably they have good home form, so that’s a great opportunity for Burnley. When the crowd get behind the team at Turf Moor it really does generate some atmosphere.
“Certainly for the first half of the season our home record was brilliant.
“It’s a great opportunity for Burnley to pick up some points.”
He added: “There’s a fantastic squad there and from speaking to a couple of the lads they’ve got a really good team ethic and spirit and togetherness.
“We came very close to pulling it off last time so with all the factors that they’ve got going in their favour they’ve got to be really optimistic.”