The Inside Track: Burnley

By SFC Media Thu 12 Jan Burnley vs Saints
Photo by Reuters | Andre Gray celebrates

Ahead of Saturday's clash at Turf Moor in the Premier League, Lancashire Telegraph's Burnley reporter Tyrone Marshall gives us the lowdown on their season so far.

How would you sum up this season so far?

You'd have to say it's gone very well, especially at Turf Moor. I don't think many people expected Burnley to be 12th at this stage, with an eight-point cushion on the bottom three.

That is all the more remarkable considering they have just one point away from home. While they've not been at their best away, they have been excellent at home. They've scored goals at Turf Moor and even the teams who have won there have been given very difficult games.

What has the style of play been like?

Sean Dyche always proclaims the benefits of 'mixed football' and it has been just that. Burnley are never afraid to go direct when the situation calls for it. The winner against Middlesbrough was a classic example of that.

But they've also played some very good football at times, especially in recent weeks, and the performance against Sunderland on New Year's Eve was particularly impressive and featured some good passing moves.

Who have been the standout performers in recent weeks?

Record signing Jeff Hendrick has been getting better and better but the front two of Ashley Barnes and Andre Gray have been the key men. Barnes is an old-fashioned, unorthodox centre forward and Premier League defenders come off the pitch after 90 minutes knowing they've been in a battle against him.

Gray has been the beneficiary of that. There were signs that last season's form was returning early in December and four goals in two games between Christmas and New Year proved that. He looks very sharp at the moment.

96% of the points total in the Premier League have come from home games, what has been the key to being so strong at home?

Turf Moor isn't exactly a modern Premier League ground. The away dressing room is not what most visiting teams are used to and the place can feel small and imposing when the fans make a noise. The team take advantage of that and they try and make sure every team that visits are dragged into a real contest.

Burnley set a good tempo and get about the opposition and try and unsettle them, and it's worked this season. But they've scored goals at home as well and they've shown they can play good football when they establish supremacy in a game.

What sort of game are you expecting to see on Saturday?

I'm sure Burnley will try and set a quick tempo, press hard early on and try and unsettle Southampton. If there's any signs of tiredness from the EFL Cup semi-final they will try and exploit it.

The seven home wins this season have given Burnley real confidence at Turf Moor and they'll fancy their chances of making it eight on Saturday.

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