CLARETS boss Sean Dyche is open-minded about what his side can achieve this season after climbing to 10th place.
Burnley beat third place Crystal Palace 1-0 on Saturday at Turf Moor with a late goal from Junior Stanislas.
It was a third win in four league games, leaving the Clarets four points from Watford, who occupy the final play-off spot in sixth.
Dyche is not limiting his players’ ambitions, merely focusing on sustaining the level of consistency they are finding at present: “I’ve mentioned many times I think we’ve been a little bit hard done by with some things that have gone against us that have been out of our hands.
“When we’re applying ourselves like we did on Saturday and none of that gets in the way then I think we are a decent side.
“We’re certainly a side to be reckoned with and we’re certainly a side that look like we’ll challenge anyone in the division too, on any 90 minutes.
“The next challenge for us is to find that consistency, keep getting those wins on the board and see where that takes us.
“There are 19 games to go, it’s more about what we do on a weekly basis.
“That’s what I put into the team anyway. You can limit people if you put certain targets on things so if you stay open minded who knows what it brings?”
On Saturday, without Charlie Austin, Chris McCann, Martin Paterson, Brian Stock and Ben Mee, Burnley still turned in a display deserving of victory over promotion-chasing Palace, and with money tight in the January transfer window, Dyche is delighted to see the squad creating competition: “There’s a financial reality at the club and we have to look at that as well and monitor that.
“It doesn’t mean we can’t do anything, it means we’ve probably got to be shopping in a different market.
“It’s more about looking at the bigger picture of the club.
“But the way the players are going about it you’d certainly want to look at your own first because people keep coming in and out of the side for whatever reason, but they’ve been delivering, so we look at what we’ve got first and then worry about what we haven’t later.”
The wide positions are highly competitive at present, with Stanislas fit again, Keith Treacy back in the frame, Ross Wallace performing well, and Dane Richards looking for more action after his arrival from Vancouver Whitecaps, and Dyche said: “The squad is important.
“It’s not just the strength, it’s about the mental strength to go and deliver because when you’ve got that shirt you want to stay in the team.
“They’re certainly putting up a case for staying in the team and it’s brilliant for me as a manager to have so many motivated people to want to play.”
Stanislas staked his claim on Saturday, and he added: “You’ve just seen a group of wide players and two of Palace’s have been touted around for massive money.
“Bolasie is someone who’s come onto the scene that people are beginning to talk about, and Zaha has been for probably a year now.
“They had quiet spells, then sharp, then quiet. It can be the nature of wide players. But we’ve got good competition in the wide areas, for sure.
“We know Junior’s got moments of quality like that, it’s more about his whole game – his whole team game – and that’s one thing we have got a few of.
“I’ve been aligning the wide players about the team game, and not just their moments of quality.”
McCann sat out the game with injury, but Dyche hopes he will be back sooner rather than later: “It was a strange one, he’s got a bit of tendonitis which can flare up and then settle down very quickly.
“He’d trained during the week so we were expecting him to be fit, and then he didn’t make it.
“He trained Thursday fine, it was Friday morning when it was too tight to continue.
“The medical team will get on top of that and it should settle down.”