STRIKER Martin Paterson believes when he joins Charlie Austin firing on all cylinders, Burnley will be in business.
Austin is the top scorer in the country at present with 14 goals in all competitions.
Paterson started the season with a goal in the win against Bolton, but a hamstring injury curtailed his progress until his return last month.
He has now played six successive games - his best run of starts since February - and while Austin’s goals are easing the burden, the former Stoke man is his own toughest critic and wants to join him on the goal trail.
Paterson scored 19 as Burnley were promoted in his first season at the club, when he and Steven Thompson formed a potent partnership, and he aims to chip in with Austin: “Charlie’s on one of those streaks, everything he hits nestles in the back of the net. Hopefully he carries on.
“I spoke to him on Tuesday after his second and said ‘I think you’ve touched the ball twice!’
“That’s how he is, he’s a natural goalscorer - you can’t coach his knack of getting in the right position to score.
“It’s fantastic, but I need to score more goals in the partnership and ease the burden a little bit. I’m hoping I get a run of goals like that soon!
“Sometimes you get on a run. I think I’m playing well, but I haven’t scored, I’ve had a couple of chances but it just hasn’t fallen for me.
“What he’s doing is remarkable.
“I know I do a lot for the team, but I have pride and want to score goals myself.
“I’m sure when I get that next chance, I’ll put it away.”
Paterson feels a play-off push is realistic if he can also weigh in with his share of goals: “The pressure’s not on me because he’s scoring two and three every game, but I put pressure on myself.
“I’m very honest and know I need to score goals.
“We are both different types, but the partnership is working well.
“We both have our strengths, I just want his goals!
“But if I start scoring as well, we could be in touching distance of a strong play-off shout.
“You do need both strikers scoring goals - though we could share Charlie’s at the moment!
“We’re in business if I start scoring though.
“I don’t think we’re miles away from pushing.”
Burnley are scoring goals, and also conceding them at present, making for entertaining, if frustrating viewing.
But Paterson feels attack is the best form of defence: “If we were dogged and played 4-5-1 or two banks of four, it wouldn’t be as entertaining as going out and having a right go. Our problem is we’re too honest and go out and have a go and try and win every game, playing the football the gaffer wants.
“If we weren’t as brave, if we whacked it long and I chased it, the fans wouldn’t enjoy it.
“We’re trying to create moves, but we’re not Barcelona and it doesn’t come over night.
“I can play both ways, I don’t mind the dirty side, but I enjoy playing this way.
“We are a very attacking team, when you look at the teamsheet, you think we’re going to try and score goals, and sometimes that can be detrimental to the defensive side.
“We’ve got to work hard to stop teams playing and I’m sure we’ll do that.”
Paterson is today expected to be named in the Northern Ireland squad to face Portugal, and after withdrawing from the last round of World Cup qualifiers against Russia and Luxembourg, he admits he could have a big decision to make: “There’s a big possibility with it only being the one game in Portugal that I’ll go with the squad.
“It’s difficult because every game takes a lot out of me and with the international break comes your rest.
“I’ve had to think long and hard, but if selected I’ll probably go.
“I have to keep fit, play as many games as I can for my club, and if I’m not doing that, I shouldn’t be playing for my country.”
He feels if he maintains his fitness, he will show what he is really capable of: “There’s no doubt I’m a better footballer than I was in the promotion season, no question.
“Then I was fit every game, and now I’m at that point.
“I’m pretty harsh on myself and I judge myself against that, so now I’m looking to score more goals.
“I’m older, more mature, physically stromger - it’s been hard for me because I’ve not been able to go out there and show it, but now I am.”