JASON Tindall insists Burnley are not a one-man team.
The Clarets travel to promotion hopefuls and Carling Cup runners-up Cardiff City on Sunday, with Jay Rodriguez on a hot streak in front of goal, scoring nine in his last 11 outings.
But with the 21-goal frontman nursing a groin problem, Burnley may have to do without the ever-present’s services for the first time this season.
At the time of writing, Rodriguez had yet to train this week after being withdrawn at half-time in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Crystal Palace, and he will be assessed tomorrow morning before the squad make the trip to South Wales.
However, Tindall feels there is enough strike power within the squad to compensate – and the goals have been shared out over the course of the season, with Charlie Austin netting 11, Ross Wallace six and Chris McCann five.
However, in the last 16 games, if you take Rodriguez’s goals out of the equation, only five other goals have been scored, two each for Martin Paterson and Kieran Trippier, and one for Austin.
Tindall said: “You want goals to be spread out – you don’t want to be too reliant on one or two players.
“In the early part of the season, that was the case – Charlie had a terrific start and always has a goal in him, Pato has had a stop-start season with injury, but his record suggests he will score goals – it’s not an area we’re too concerned about.
“We have players who will chip in and score goals, we just need a few more from midfield and the defenders.
“But as long as Jay is scoring, it’s not a concern. If he dries up or is out injured, we still have matchwinners.”
Any side in the Championship would miss Rodriguez – indeed, he finished fourth in a poll of the 24 managers of their top 10 players of the season, behind winner Rickie Lambert, Peter Whittingham of Cardiff, and Lambert’s Southampton team-mate Adam Lallana.
Tindall admits he would have placed him further up the rankings.
He said: “It’s a fantastic achievement for Jay to be rated so highly, but I’m sure, as a group, we would have had him even higher.
“We work with him day in and day out, and he’s had a terrific year – it’s no surprise he’s caught the attention of our opposition managers and people within the game.
“He has a fantastic future, and hopefully that will be with us.”
With or without Rodriguez, Tindall knows Burnley have to be taking maximum points from the Cardiff City Stadium to keep their faint play-off hopes alive.
The Clarets lie nine points behind the sixth-place Bluebirds with 11 games remaining, and Tindall said: “We’re looking to finish the season strongly. We need to get back on track as soon as possible, and win maybe eight or nine of our last 11 games and see where it takes us.
“It would take a run like that to give us the possibility of being in the play-offs, and obviously if we beat Cardiff, that will go a little way to clawing back the gap.
“They are one of the teams in and around, they are going for automatic promotion and well in the play-off places, and we also have to play Blackpool, Birmingham, Brighton and Leicester, so if we can do well in those games, we can give ourselves a chance.”