Europe would mean more than silverware for Lowton
There's no silverware for finishing sixth or seventh in the Premier League, but European qualification for the Clarets would mean more than any trophy to defender Matthew Lowton.
The 28-year-old got his hands on his first piece of silverware as a professional, receiving a winner’s medal to boot, when Burnley were promoted to the top flight as champions two seasons ago.
But the former Aston Villa full back’s dreams and aspirations have been ever-changing owing to the club’s progressive nature.
Ahead of Sunday’s trip to Stoke City, with survival secured last season, and an improvement in positioning and points ticked off this term, Sean Dyche’s side are now on the cusp of qualifying for the Europa League.
Lowton, once on loan at Hungarian side Ferencváros during his time at Sheffield United, said: “It’s definitely up there. With winning the Championship there was something at the end of it with a medal and the celebrations, but this is massive and it’s bigger than that.
“To qualify for Europe would be a huge achievement for us and that’s what we’re working towards.
“It’s becoming more realistic now. I can’t really put it into words. On a personal level, from when I joined three years ago in the Championship, to now say that we’re on the cusp of Europe, it’s massive.
“You go home after every game, you’re buzzing, the family is and everyone involved with the club is as well. It would be a massive achievement so we need to push on and get there.”
In previous campaigns, Portsmouth have hosted AC Milan at Fratton Park, Swansea City have taken on both Valencia and Napoli, while Fulham have entertained Italian giants Roma and Juventus at Craven Cottage.
Burnley were trailblazers on the continent - becoming only the third English club to qualify for the European Champions’ Cup in 1960 after their First Division title success, following in the footsteps of Manchester United and Wolves.
Having lost out 5-4 on aggregate to Hamburg in the last eight, the Clarets went on to lose in the quarter-final of the European Fairs Cup in 1966/67, again to West German opposition in Eintracht Frankfurt, 3-2 on aggregate.
Those glory days could return with the likes of Inter Milan, AC Milan, Villarreal, Marseille and Sporting all occupying qualification spots while Lazio, Roma, Lyon and Benfica could all yet drop in to them from their Champions League nest.
“You want to be playing European football with different teams coming here so you can test yourself against some of the best players in Europe,” Lowton said. “It would be good and I’m sure the community and the club will be buzzing if it happens.”