The bear has been poked, Burnley have been awoken from their slumber after notching a fourth league win on the bounce following a slight Premier League hangover.
They say that if you play badly and win it’s the sign of a good team, well the Clarets have not been firing on all cylinders and have still been picking up the points, that’s promotion material in my book. Sean Dyche picked up his 50th win as gaffer on Saturday and has only lost six times in his last 55 matches with Burnley at this level, a superb record.
The Clarets’ new record signing, Andre Gray, is the man that manager Dyche is going to hang his hat on this season. The consensus after the win over Sheffield Wednesday is that the club haven’t had a player of his pace and power for some time. He is a different mould to Danny Ings and he could go on to eclipse what the Liverpool man did for Burnley.
Alongside him I would go for Rouwen Hennings, who is a battering ram of a striker. The German holds the accolade of being the Clarets’ record buy for just one week before Burnley lavished some of their parachute money on Gray, a fantastic pub quiz question if there ever was. Together they have the armoury to tear through Championship defences.
The team still looks as though it’s searching for its identity however with the spine of Tom Heaton, Michael Keane, David Jones and now Andre Gray only certain of starting births. This is stark contrast to last season where you’d have a better chance of landing the Euromillions jackpot than Dyche rotating his starting XI.
This is going to be unsettled further when the one-man circus and human metaphor wrapped in an enigma Joey Barton pulls on the claret and blue. He is the sort of character that would swim through his own sick to help his team, and that will endear him to the Burnley faithful. In recent years only San Marino have kicked off more often than Barton, yet more recently he seems to have channelled that energy into a positive force and will bring a presence to the midfield.
With cult hero Dean Marney not too far off first team action it’s a nice headache for Dyche to have and will see the Clarets, to quote Dougie Freedman, “throw their weight around” at the business end of the league.
George Boyd had been out of sorts this campaign, prior to his goal against MK Dons. The marathon man has played more like Forrest Gump than the mercurial winger we saw in the Premier League, so hopefully that goal will have helped the winger sort his head out.
David Jones has reaffirmed the stance that he is an outstanding Championship performer; life in the Football League suits the midfielder as the Clarets dominate the ball more back in the second tier.
The league generally tends to take shape after 10 to 15 games with Burnley making a solid start that I expect them build upon. The Clarets have momentum but even if they have a stinker and win, you won’t see too many in East Lancashire complaining.