Heaton eager to keep laying firm foundations

Tom Heaton saves off the head of Everton striker Kone
Tom Heaton saves off the head of Everton striker Kone

Goalkeeper Tom Heaton will strive to keep formulating a base for his team-mates to build on in the pursuit of Premier League survival.

The Clarets have conceded eight goals in as many games recently, including two clean sheets, despite playing many of the division’s super-powers in that sequence.

There’s everything to play for and we’re looking forward to it

Tom Heaton

And the 29-year-old, once tutored by Manchester United’s Edwin van der Sar, topped that miserly spell with a superb penalty save to deny England international Ross Barkley in defeat to Everton.

“I’m as pleased as I can be, I’m pleased with the save and a few others in the second half, but it’s difficult to get carried away when we haven’t got anything from it,” said Heaton, after Kevin Mirallas’s strike sealed victory for the Toffees at Goodison Park.

“All I can do is try and give a base in the game. As a unit I thought we defended really well.”

Former Clarets loanee David Nugent is usually Leicester City’s designated penalty taker though, in his likely absence due to a calf injury, the club’s £10m acquisition Leonardo Ulloa would probably shoulder the responsibility.

January signing Andrej Kramaric is also prolific from 12 yards out having scored five times from the spot for Croatian outfit Rijeka prior to his move.

However, Heaton insists that he won’t get swamped in such trivialities ahead of the fixture against the Foxes.

Having revised for Leighton Baines in the previous game, Heaton said: “I had Baines down as the taker so it’s funny. It just shows you. There’s a bit of research that goes into it but me and the analyst had half a laugh that he (Barkley) wasn’t actually on the taking list, which is interesting.

“Sometimes you just go with your gut feel and that was certainly the case on Saturday. It’s just a shame we couldn’t use that as a base to build from. I had him (Baines) down as the number one taker so I was a bit surprised. I’ll just have a quick look at a sheet for three or four minutes.”

With just two points separating the two sides at the bottom end of the table, Heaton added: “It is tight down there but we’re not shying away from it.

“There’s everything to play for and we’re looking forward to it. We’re trying to embrace it and look forward to the challenge of it. It’s going to be exciting.”