Sean Dyche has commended the attitude and application of the club’s supporting cast in the push for a Premier League return.
The Burnley boss stressed the importance of a united squad, and the vital contribution that every single player within it makes, after the Clarets returned to the top of the Championship following victory over Preston North End.
The likes of Michael Kightly and Rouwen Hennings have been selected intermittently for the 18-man matchday squad this term but Dyche suggested that their character has been key.
“There are people behind the scenes,” he said. “It’s an unfortunate thing when I pick a certain squad.
“Michael Kightly’s reaction to being left out – fantastic, Rouwen Hennings, these people, they are supporting they group whole-heartedly as if they’re playin.
“That builds that never-say-die attitude and resilence. All the things you need as well for the ability to win games. We ask them to be open-minded, I explain every decision to them so they’re full of information for why things have changed.
“Dave Jones had a terrific season then Dean Marney’s played the last few. They are tough calls but that’s my job.”
Dyche also praised Deepdale match-winner Joey Barton, named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year alongside skipper Tom Heaton, defender Michael Keane and leading scorer Andre Gray.
The midfielder scored the only goal of the game on Friday evening when his set-piece deflected off Alan Browne and travelled past goalkeeper Chris Kirkland.
“Excellent and he’s been excellent all round,” he said. “He’s still delivering and has a real thirst to be successful and he continues to be that in amongst a group that’s got that. He’s been a good example of the whole group.”
The league leaders have been bestowed with a 10-day break ahead of the season’s final two games which will provide the players with the chance to recover from any aches or pains.
Dean Marney was withdrawn in the 86th minute against the Lilywhites as Dyche’s side stretched their unbeaten run to 21 games.
But the midfielder will now have the chance to recuperate ahead of Bank Holiday Monday’s clash with QPR at Turf Moor.
“We’re hopeful it’s nothing too serious,” Dyche said. “He couldn’t decide if it was cramp or a pull so we had to get him off to make sure.
“The old knock and bruise, the fact you’ve had three in a week, the lads will still work but they’ll get two days off now to relax and get themselves ready for Monday then the planning starts again.
“I’ll spend some time with my family and the players likewise I would imagine.”
Middlesbrough’s stalemate with Ipswich Town at the Riverside coupled with Brighton’s win over Charlton Athletic at the Valley now means that the division’s top three are only separated by goal difference.
Aitor Karanka’s men travel to St Andrews on Friday to tackle Birmingham City while the Seagulls entertain Derby County at the Amex Stadium ahead of Burnley’s fixture with the Hoops.
With the Clarets just two games away from the top flight, Dyche said: “It sounds easy, eh? The main thing will be re-evaluating this, having a look at it and then we move forward.
“We’ve got that 10-day break that will give the lads a rest. There was three games this week, controlled that well physically. We go into that one on Monday. Nothing’s done but that’s a big step forward again.
“We focus on our own business. Everyone else can worry about everyone else’s.”