Burnley star McCann is looking upwards

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IN-FORM skipper Chris McCann is confident that the Clarets can maintain their inconspicuous surge under the radar.

Burnley face three home games before the New Year starting with Portsmouth on Saturday, with clashes against Doncaster Rovers on Boxing Day and Hull City on New Year’s Eve to follow.

A tough trip to face Gus Poyet’s Brighton, who have kept 10 clean sheets in all competitions, is sandwiched within that festive schedule.

But 24-year-old McCann believes the Clarets can now push towards the play-off spots following the Herculean victory at West Ham, their third consecutive triumph.

He said: “We don’t want to rest on our laurels after three wins, we want to keep pushing on to try and get as high as possible in the next couple of weeks.

“We want to keep going under the radar, steady the ship and see where that takes us.

“The Christmas period is difficult because of the run of games that we have.

“If we come through that period okay, we’ll have as good a chance as anybody of pushing on.”

Eddie Howe’s side have now earned 10 of their 27 points from losing positions and have, more recently at least, arrested their defensive leakage which, prior to the clean sheet at home to the Tractor Boys, had shipped 51 goals in 22 games in all games.

And that attitude and character, epitomised in the display against the Hammers, has delighted McCann.

“It was tough as they are a really good side who pass and move the ball really well in the first half and probably had all the possession,” he said.

“We just had to defend strongly and I think we did that in the first half.

“The in the second half, we showed great resilience to come back from a goal behind.

“It was a fantastic performance from everybody and that’s the kind you need when you go to places like that. Everybody had to pull together and pull in the same direction.

“I’ve been saying for weeks that it was only a matter of time before the penny drops and we start picking up wins to shoot up the table. We’re in the top 10 now after that, so it’s been a fantastic week.”

Success in East London, bursting West Ham’s seven game unbeaten bubble, has clearly galvanised the camp, and McCann believes that they can now pose a threat to any side in the Championship.

He said: “In recent weeks we’ve been playing some good football but not getting the results we’ve deserved.

“Our displays warranted more but we were languishing at the bottom end of the table.

“We probably didn’t deserve to be down there but what a difference a week has made.

“Three wins and look how far we’ve shot up the table.”

McCann’s best goal tally for the club came in the 2008/09 play-off winning campaign as he notched on eight occasions.

After subsequent season hampered by injuries, he said: “I’ve hit a bit of a purple patch and I don’t want it to stop. That’s three in two for me now.

“I needed to start chipping in with the goals because we can’t start relying on Jay, Charlie and Vokes to score.

“Goals need to start coming from other areas and hopefully I can start to weigh in with my share now.”

All the talk so far this season has surrounded strike pairing Charlie Austin and Jay Rodriguez’s rich vein of goal-scoring form.

The duo have 20 between them, with Ross Wallace adding six, but McCann is excited by the ingredients that Wolves forward Sam Vokes can add to the cocktail.

“He’s been phenomenal since he came in and has bagged two in two,” said McCann.

“Sometimes I think we need that physicality up front, a big centre forward to work off, and he’s been terrific.

“Charlie and Jay are great on the ball and good at holding it up. Sam’s a bit different and he gives us an outlet when we’re under pressure. He scored a fantastic header and he’s a pleasure to work with.”

• The Clarets will visit Premier League new boys Norwich City in the FA Cup third round. It will be the first time the two sides have met in the competition.

Ties are to be played on January 7th and 8th.