CLARETS boss Sean Dyche remains positive about Burnley’s play-off ambitions, despite taking only two points from the last 12 available.
Burnley, having climbed to seventh place in the table after the win at Millwall, have since drawn two and lost two of the following four games, including Tuesday night’s frustrating goal-less draw at home to Middlesbrough.
But with 14 games remaining, Dyche takes his side to Brighton tomorrow in 12th, seven points adrift of Boro in sixth place, with a game in hand, and he is still upbeat about their chances.
He said: “It was important not to lose on Tuesday night, and it was quite clear we didn’t go with that intent - we went to win.
“The point keeps us in that pack who are hunting, among the others.
“But it’s a crazy division and we’re looking to do that crazy thing and win lots of games to try and get in there.”
Tomorrow’s opponents are five points ahead of Burnley in seventh, having won at leaders Cardiff on Tuesday, and while Dyche anticipates a very difficult afternoon, he sees no reason why the Clarets can’t replictate their win at the AMEX Stadium last season: “Brighton have just gone and won at Cardiff and they’re a very good side.
“They’re an experienced side, they’ve thrown some money at it this year and brought some foreign technicians in, but is there an easy game in this division?
“Peterborough won 5-1 at Millwall on Tuesday night - that’s the division for you.
“Everyone is looking for the consistency that really puts teams up there.
“We’ve been close to that, and it’s the knife-edge moments that can win it for you.
“We were close to that on Tuesday, but just needed that one break.”
Dyche is hoping for good news on the injury front after Ross Wallace (knee) and Danny Ings (hamstring) sat out Tuesday’s draw, joining Michael Duff (calf) and Ben Mee (knee) on the sidelines: “Ross had a knock on his knee.
“We’ve had it looked at and we think it’s fine, it’s just a case of settling it down.
“And Ingsy’s doing well, it’s nothing serious.
“Duffo and Ben Mee are moving well again so they should come back in hopefully sooner rather than later if their rehab goes well.
“Brighton might come too soon though, we’ll have to wait and see.”
Dyche felt the performance against Middlesbrough merited more than a point.
Boro came to Turf Moor in a defensive frame of mind having lost six of their last seven games, and Dyche said: “We played well for a large part of the game, kept the ball and dominated the possession stats and chance stats without really opening them up for that one clinical moment to finish it.
“It was that type of game.
“It’s a knife-edge feeling, because that’s a side that is sixth, have a lot of big players and can change the team at will, and they’ve come here and defended.
“That was the intent, so it’s shown how far we’ve come, that as a team and a club, to be recognised as having a chance of chasing the dream.
“We weren’t far away, there were a lot of good things about the performance.”
He added: “To be fair to Tony (Mowbray), he’s probably looked at, particularly the away results, and the goals, and they’ve clearly come to shut up shop and try and take a break or a lucky moment - a one-off chance.
“They didn’t have a shot at goal in the first half, which is unusual. It shows the way we went about it, not just that they were playing a defensive system, but that they didn’t have a sniff.
“Second half we tried to change the feel of it, change the style of play to make it more open and different to deal with, but they hung on in there.
“We worked the keeper, and it was a close one for us. The shape of the team was good, the energy, the will, the demand and some of the quality.
“If we win 1-0, all of you are thinking what a good performance it was, because we dominated.
“I think it’s a fantastic sign of how far we’ve come mentally and as a team and a club that we’ve played a top six team, dominated and we’re disappointed.
“I thought towards the end Keith (Treacy) put some great balls into the box, Tripps was excellent - he put some good ammunition in there, and Junior as well.
“Sometimes you just need something to break, a mistake, one drops for you...the whole feel changes because it’s 0-0 and not 1-0.
“We’ve dominated the game.”
• FOLLOWING their midweek draw against Middlesbrough, tomorrow Burnley travel to Brighton, as they look to revive their playoff hopes. Leading odds comparison site Oddschecker.com can reveal that Burnley are best priced at 11/4 to win with Boylesports. Brighton are best priced at 22/19 with Pinnacle, which has shortened from evens following their impressive win over Cardiff on Tuesday. The draw is best priced at 5/2 with Bet Victor.
In the previous eight meetings between the two sides, there has been four draws, three Burnley wins and a Brighton win. The three Burnley wins have all finished 1-0, a score line best priced at 12/1 with Bet Victor. Burnley have kept clean sheets in three of their last four meetings with Brighton.
Alternatively, punters may look at backing both teams to score, an option best priced at 3/4 with Bet Victor. Brighton have scored in all of their last 12 games, whilst Burnley have scored in 11 of their last 15 games.
Charlie Austin is best priced to score first once again at 5/1 with Coral alongside Craig Mackail-Smith, who scored twice in the reverse fixture earlier in the season.
Burnley haven’t been shy of second half goals this season, scoring seven in their last seven league games, whilst Brighton have scored six second half goals in their last six. +2.5 goals in the second half is best priced at 15/4 with Coral. The second half is also best priced at 23/20 by Bet Victor to be the highest scoring half
Burnley have shortened to second favourite to be the highest placed North West club come the end of the season. They are best priced at 11/4 by Bet Victor, having drifted from 10/3.