Heaton trying to keep a lid on ‘P’ word

Solid custodian: Tom Heaton has kept 16 clean sheets for the Clarets since his summer switch from Bristol City

Solid custodian: Tom Heaton has kept 16 clean sheets for the Clarets since his summer switch from Bristol City

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While Burnley’s players and staff aren’t discussing the prospect of promotion just yet, keeper Tom Heaton is in a unique position.

Heaton, signed in the summer after being relegated with Bristol City, comes from a family of Clarets fans and is having to keep their emotions in check as well!

The amiable 27-year-old kept his 16th clean sheet in the 1-0 win at Barnsley on Tuesday night that means Burnley can be promoted to the Premier League tomorrow, if they beat Middlesbrough and Turf Moor, and Derby fail to win at home to Huddersfield.

Heaton isn’t looking beyond avenging one of only four league defeats against Boro, but, asked how it would feel to go up in front of a home crowd, he admitted: “It would be fantastic. It’s obviously not completely in our hands, the only thing we can focus on is what’s right in front of us and that’s Middlesbrough.

“We’ll go again and focus on what we need to do to get the result go in our favour.

“There’s still a long way to go and we’ll keep pushing the standards.”

Asked if the family were excited about the prospect, he smiled: “Just a bit! I’m trying to rein them in a little bit.”

Positivity poured from the former Manchester United keeper on his unveiling to the media at Gawthorpe last summer, and his belief has been vindicated in a remarkable campaign.

He explained: “You felt there was something special about it. Obviously you have to go and do it, and the manager has set out the standards, the players have taken it on and we’ve snowballed from there. There’s a lot of momentum.

“I doubt there are many people who thought we could have done what we’ve done, where we’ve got to so far, but there was certainly a belief in that dressing room from the moment I walked in the door.”

He feels this team know their jobs inside out: “There is something special about the team. There’s not only quality there, there is that discipline and work ethic, and mixed with a bit of hunger and desire and willingness not to give in and keep going - if you’ve got a per cent of fragility in your side you come to places like Barnsley and you’re 1-0 up with 10 minutes to go, you concede. But we’re not giving anything away.

“It’s such a great quality to have as a side.”

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