George Boyd believes Burnley are in good shape for a promotion push.
The Clarets have three more pre-season games before the big kick-off at Leeds United a fortnight on Saturday, but the midfielder can’t wait to get started.
And he feels, despite the loss of Kieran Trippier and Danny Ings, Burnley should rightly be considered favourites to go back up to the Premier League after relegation.
Boyd said: “We’ve spoken as a group about the expectations changing, we’re now among the favourites, when last year we were the underdogs, so there’s that change in mentality.
“I’m not being arrogant, but we are one of the favourites to go up and we are confident, so we should be with the squad we’ve got.
“We’ll use that as a positive and go into every game expecting to win.
“Last year in the Premier League, with the exposure we got, playing week in, week out against world class players will only help us in the Championship, and the expectation of winning every week.
“Last year will be fantastic for us, and we should use that experience to our advantage.”
Matt Lowton and Jelle Vossen have come in for Trippier and Ings, with potentially more to follow, and Boyd added: “Lowts has bedded in straight away, and Jelle got a goal straight away, I’m sure we’ll make new additions as well.
“Tripps and Ingsy are big players, but hopefully we’ve replaced them, and we’re looking good.”
Scotland international Boyd featured in the 1-0 win at Rangers on Tuesday night, in front of a huge crowd for a pre-season game, and he admitted: “It was amazing for a friendly, it shows how big the club is. It’s one of the iconic grounds of the world really, so it was a great occasion, especially for some of the young lads coming in, it’s a great experience for them. It was great to get the win and a clean sheet.”
And the marathon man is closing in on full capacity: “I’m getting there, I was a bit leggy at the end, it was the first time we’ve played over a half, it’s just getting that fitness back in the legs and the sharpness will come. We’ve got two weeks to get ready for Leeds, which is the most important thing.
“We can’t wait, we’ve done all the hard work, it’s just getting that sharpness now, we’ve done two weeks of solid graft, we just want to get out there and try and get back to the big league.”
Part of the preparations included the now legendary “Gaffer’s Day”, as Boyd explained: “It was my first experience of it, it was hard graft for two hours, it was great mentally and for team spirit, there were a lot of team runs. We did a lot of runs where you have to pick a mate up and take them to the other end of the pitch...it was tough.”