Captain Tom hails Clarets’ strength in depth

Tom Heaton alleviates the danger at Ewood Park on Saturday
Tom Heaton alleviates the danger at Ewood Park on Saturday

Skipper Tom Heaton admitted after the derby win at Blackburn that this current vintage Claret could top the promotion side of two seasons ago.

Burnley claimed a second-successive win at Ewood Park on Saturday.

Tom Heaton was all smiles after the victory. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Tom Heaton was all smiles after the victory. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Their last success there in March 2014 was significant in their rise to the Premier League, and Heaton feels the squad have a good chance of emulating that feat this term.

Burnley have lost Kieran Trippier, Danny Ings and Jason Shackell, but Sean Dyche has bolstered the squad, and Heaton said: “Football is always evolving. The team is always stronger than the individuals leaving.

“We’re now in a position where we have more strength in depth.

“I don’t think the XI out on the pitch at any time is any weaker than what it was previously.

It’s not lost on us how much this means to the town

Tom Heaton

“There are arguments that it’s better than a couple of years ago, and that might well be the case.

“There’s certainly more strength in depth and competition for places.

“As ever under this manager the team is our biggest asset.

“We don’t single out individuals, the team is the biggest highlight.

“That showed at Blackburn when we had our backs against the wall and everybody is doing their jobs and pulling together.”

Heaton was in the side that claimed a first derby win in 12 games last March, and he was thrilled to back that up on Saturday, as Burnley made it five games without defeat against the old enemy: “It’s fantastic to come here and get the three points in such a big game.

“The belief has been great and we came here in good form.

“To get that win last year gave us the belief that we could do it. It was a great battling performance without hitting our fluid best.”

Heaton is the closest the club has to a “home grown” player, with his father having grown up in the area, supporting Burnley, but the squad fully understand the rivalry: “It’s not lost on us on how much this means to the town, the team and to the whole football club.

“I’ve been impressed, in the derbies that I’ve played in, how much it means to the players. It’s not lost on anyone.

“You can see that with the celebration after the goal. We’re obviously delighted. Hopefully this can continue.”

Heaton spent the first half with the Blackburn End behind him, but he admitted the noise from the away fans in the second half was magnificent: “I fully understand it, the passion of the game. It’s great. I was trying to duck out of the way of lighters and pound coins whizzing at me. It was a fantastic atmosphere and a great game to play in. It’s a game we enjoyed and after the 60-minute mark we could barely hear ourselves think which is brilliant. It’s a great feeling.”

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