Promotion would be 'special' for Keane
Defender Michael Keane says it would be 'special' if he can win his first-ever promotion with the Clarets.
The 23-year-old moved to Turf Moor on loan in September 2014, moving permanently from Old Trafford in January last year, with Burnley already in the top flight having finished runners-up to Leicester City in the Championship.
The former England Under 21 international, who featured 23 times for the club in the Premier League that term, has only been absent twice this season after suffering a head injury in a collision with goalkeeper Lee Camp in the win over Rotherham United in February.
With the Clarets five points clear of third place Middlesbrough with just eight games remaining, Keane said: “I joined Burnley when they were in the Premier League so I’ve never actually won promotion.
“A lot of the team has already done that before, but I’m one of the few that hasn’t. It would be special for me if we can do it.
“I’ve played most of the season so I’d feel like I’ve really earned it this time. If we do go up then hopefully we’d be able to kick on from there and stay in the league, but we can’t focus on that yet because there’s still a long way to go.
“We need to win as many games as possible until it’s mathematically assured that we’re up.”
That final push begins tomorrow when the Clarets take on promotion rivals Brighton at the AMEX Stadium in the day’s early kick-off (12-30 p.m.).
The Seagulls embarked on a 22-game unbeaten run at the start of the campaign before suffering a 3-0 loss to Aitor Karanka’s side in December.
And it’s a 15-game stretch without loss that has fired Sean Dyche’s side to the division’s summit.
Keane feels emulating Brighton’s run would see them over the line but the one-time Manchester United man is refusing to look too far ahead.
“We’ve been on a great run ourselves,” he said. “They were 20-odd games unbeaten and we’re 15 now. With eight games left, if we were able to do that then I think we’d see it through.
“We’ve just got to take it one game at a time because we can’t afford to think too far ahead. A lot can happen in eight games. If you look too far ahead you can get distracted, so we’ve just got to focus on what’s coming up. At the moment that’s Brighton.”
Keane insists that the training camp in Marbella during the international break has helped the squad re-charge their batteries, with the players returning in high spirits.
With the potential of becoming the first Clarets side in 43 years to be crowned champions of the country’s second tier, Keane said: “Everyone is very excited because there’s a big opportunity for us all.
“We don’t really look into the history too much because we want to do it for ourselves and the fans.
“It would be a great achievement if we could do it, but getting promoted is the main aim. If we manage to do that by winning the league then that would be even better.
“We’re going out to win every game, and if we do that then we’re guaranteed to be champions. It’s not that easy but we’ll take it one game at a time and see what happens.”
He added: “We know in our group what we’re capable of, and we’ve been on a run that’s proved that. We are where we are because we deserve to be there. We just need to keep playing like we have been doing and I’m sure we’ll be alright.
“It is going to be tough. Brighton have been doing well and they probably didn’t have the expectation that we had at the start of the season, so there might not be as much pressure on them. We’re looking forward to the game and hopefully we can come out on top.”