Gray up for challenge

Burnley's Andre Gray celebrates scoring a hat-trick ''Photographer Richard Martin-Roberts/CameraSport''Football - The Football League Sky Bet Championship - Burnley v Bristol City - Monday 28th December 2015 - Turf Moor - Burnley''� CameraSport - 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - admin@camerasport.com - www.camerasport.com

Burnley's Andre Gray celebrates scoring a hat-trick ''Photographer Richard Martin-Roberts/CameraSport''Football - The Football League Sky Bet Championship - Burnley v Bristol City - Monday 28th December 2015 - Turf Moor - Burnley''� CameraSport - 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - admin@camerasport.com - www.camerasport.com

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Championship top-scorer Andre Gray has warned the critics: ‘write us off at your peril’.

Burnley, after three defeats in five games, slipped off the pace in the hunt for automatic promotion.

But the 4-0 win at home to Bristol City on Monday has handed Sean Dyche’s side a five-point gap to seventh place, ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Ipswich Town (kick-off 3 p.m.).

The Clarets have only beaten two of the top 12 sides so far this season, and Gray is eager to add the Tractor Boys to that list, as he said: “We need to start beating teams around us.

“People will say Hull are pulling away but they go and lose on Monday.

“Everyone was talking about Brighton, but we’ve taken more points than them in the last 12 games now.

“It’s just how it is.

“I think the media outside of Burnley seem to make a big deal out of things when they don’t really know the actual stats. But that’s how football works.

“We just need to keep it in house. We know what we’ve got in the changing room and what we’re capable of on the pitch, and hopefully that blip in December and end of November is out of the way now and we can just kick on.”

And Gray looks at the example of last season, as Derby, strong automatic promotion favourites, fell away, and Bournemouth and Watford claimed the top two places: “It was like that last season. Derby were up and flying, Watford were nowhere to be seen, Middlesbrough the same, and we saw Watford run away with it, and Bournemouth as well.

“It’s up and down, we’re only halfway through the season.

“People can say teams have run away with it, but eight points (off the top) is not a lot. There’s not much in it. We’ll see at the end of the season.”

Gray took his tally to 15 goals for the season with a hat-trick against the Robins – 14 of which have now come at Turf Moor.

But he doesn’t mind where the goals come as they continue to go in: “It’s a strange one really, I don’t know why it is. They don’t seem to drop to me away, bar Saturday at Hull.

“It’s a weird one. I don’t think there’s anything to it. I’m still trying as hard and trying to score. We probably dominate more at home than we do away, and that might be part of it. I’m not sure, it’s just one of those things. People would be complaining if I was scoring away and not at home, so you can’t win.”

Gray hit 23 goals over the calendar year, including 10 for Brentford before his £6m move, and he added: “That’s what matters. Stats don’t lie.

“That’s 21 games now this season and I’ve managed to score 15 goals.

“I think if people look at that rather than whether I’m scoring home or away.

“Obviously we’re not doing as well away and that’s what I seem to be getting judged on at the minute, but I think as a team we can be better overall away as well.

“It’s not just me, it’s the whole team. We know that.

“I’m not getting pressure off my team-mates. As a team we know we need to be better. That’s all that matters to me. I don’t really care about what people have got to say outside. I’ll just keep looking at the stats and that will keep me confident.”

The magical striking milestone of 20 goals is well in his sights, but he admitted: “I’ll look at that as soon as I get past what I scored last season in the league. In the league games it was 16 and I’m one behind that. I’ll see what happens and try to score in the next game and the next game.”