UPBEAT Clarets boss Sean Dyche admits “building for the future” is his main challenge after the East Lancashire derby on Sunday.
Burnley were denied a first win over Blackburn in 34 years by an off-side injury time equaliser from David Dunn, but Dyche remains positive about what he saw from his players and wants to now end the season on a high with eight games to play.
Having brought in Alex Kacaniklic on loan from Fulham for the rest of the season, Dyche could make further signings before the loan deadline on March 28th, the day before the next game at his former club Watford on Good Friday.
He will look to further put his own stamp on the squad in the summer - as he looks to bring more leadership and experience to a young group, however, and he said: “It’s not hard to be positive, I’m always positive, I know the realities of what we are, what we can do, what we can build and achieve, and overall there have been really good signs.
“You can’t guarantee it because we’re not the real deal, and I don’t know how many teams are, but we are a work in progress, we have some good players, we have some honesty.
“We’ll make changes in the summer, almost undoubtedly, we’re still looking to make changes now because I want to finish strong, I want people to understand the winning mentality we want to instil in them, and the maturity to grow towards being a more rounded player.
“Sunday will do them the world of good, I must say, experiencing that for the second time this season.”
He added: “Our main challenge now is to build for the future.
“Some good work has been done, a lot of changes behind the scenes have been made.
“The adaptation was instant and then it’s come away a little bit. This was a good reminder of what we think is important going forward, and the freedom I talk about.
“I like it when the players enjoy what they’re doing, and they looked a motivated group on Sunday.
“I want to carry that over, put in some good work over the international break and then be ready to go again.
“There were some really good performances and we want to build on that.
“We’ve come away from that a little bit so it was a brilliant day to remind everyone what we have got.
“We’ve got some good players and they’re learning, improving and we take that into the next game.”
He is looking for a certain type of player to bolster the squad already at his disposal.
Hailing captain Jason Shackell’s performance, both defensively and after scoring his first Burnley goal, Dyche said: “He’s been very good ever since we’ve got here. There are a number of players who have really stood up – he stands up through the good and the bad times, and that’s important.
“It’s what we want here. We want men, we want leaders and we’re trying to develop them at the moment.
“When changes come in the summer we’ll bring some in because it’s an important part of our club, what we want to do.
“We want to develop players but we also need leaders and he was one – amongst a few others, like Duffo (Michael Duff) next to him. He was excellent.”
Dyche felt his players were lacking clarity in Monday’s 1-0 defeat at home to Hull, and he explained the work put in to change that: “I just reminded them of the positives, the good players they are and the work they’re capable of.
“We insist on them playing freely, we want them to attack, and sometimes the armour goes on and they’re a bit protective, but what a good day to go out and do it, make history.
“A decision goes against you and you don’t quite do it, but it’s out of their hands.
“They were first class.
“Overall the players did exactly what they needed to do to win a game, and unfortunately, again, a decision has gone against us.”
• THE Clarets travel to Bloomfield Road to play Blackpool on Saturday, April 13th (kick-off 3 p.m).
Burnley have been allocated 1,700 tickets and these went on priority sale yesterday to season ticket holders, foundation members and members with 3,500 or more loyalty points.
Prices are as follows: executive tickets (East Stand): Adults: £25; Over 60: £20; U16-19: £17; U16s: £15.
Standard tickets (East Stand): Adults: £24; Over 60: £19; U16-19: £16; U16s: £14.
Further priority periods to be advised.
• BRIAN Jensen is currently enjoying his testimonial year at Turf Moor.
And Brian’s testimonial committee are delighted to announce a gala dinner/dance in his honour, to be held at Turf Moor on Saturday, April 6.
Hosted by Alastair Campbell and attended by many of Brian’s current and former team mates, this is your chance to honour the ‘Beast’ following a decade of loyal service.
The evening consists of a three-course meal and live entertainment from, among others, ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ comedy impressionist Les Gibson.
Brian will also be recalling the highlights of his Turf Moor career in a special chat with with Alastair, before live music rounds off a fabulous evening.
Gold tickets (closest to the stage) are priced at £50, with Silver and Bronze priced at £40 and £30 respectively.
Dress code is lounge suits.
Tickets for this unique event in the James Hargreaves Stand are now on sale at the Turf Moor reception, or by phone on 0871 21 1882.
They can also be bought from the Burnley Express offices, or on 01282 478164.