Eddie Howe looking to finish the season on a high

Eddie Howe
Eddie Howe

CLARETS boss Eddie Howe hopes his players can maintain the feel good factor they have created at Elland Road tomorrow.

Burnley travel to Leeds in a do or die clash between two sides still harbouring play-off ambitions.

And, on the back of a four-match unbeaten run, in which his side have played some scintillating football to pick up 10 points, Howe feels that there are big plus points to take forward, come what may in the last two games.

After beating Swansea, Middlesbrough and Derby, before Monday’s 1-1 draw at home to Portsmouth, Howe said: “The pleasing thing for us has been the response from the players and supporters, there seems a real positive vibe about the club at the moment and we want to continue that.

“I definitely think there has been progress, I’ve said it all along, we’re looking to next season, whichever division we are in, and we want the performances we’ve had of late to follow through to next year.

“There has been some really positive signs, and I do think the football we’ve played...gradually we’re starting to get a consistency to our play and I’ve been delighted with the players.”

Burnley are still in the mix for a play-off place, two points behind Nottingham Forest, level with Millwall - with an inferior goal difference - and one ahead of Leeds, and Howe is determined to make the most of this opportunity, and hopefully be able to capitalise on any slips from above: “We’re still very much in there, I know we’re two points behind, and it’s advantage to Forest at the moment, but it changes quickly on the back of one result and we’re focussed on going to Leeds and trying to win the game.

“We’ve got a tough run in - the last two games are very tough - but the way we’ve performed in the last four games has been excellent, so we’re looking to finish the season on a high.

“The response of late has been terrific, we have performed really well as a team in the last four games, and some of the football we’ve played has been excellent.

“We did everything but win the game against Portsmouth, I thought the effort from the players was excellent, and it was just that second goal that was missing.

“But I can’t fault the players.”

And he backs those players to rise to the occasion in front of a sell-out Elland Road crowd tomorrow afternoon: “I don’t think the big games faze this group of players.

“A lot of them have been through the Premier League experience and the size of games they have in that division, and I have no worries about the mental strength of the players - on any given day they’re capable of producing some outstanding football and performances.

“We just hope it all clicks in gear at Leeds.”

With Chris McCann back fit, and Martin Paterson having netted in the reserves last night, the season is almost ending at the wrong time - especially with the form Burnley are in, and Howe smiled: “There a lot of ifs, we’d love the season to go on longer with the form we’re in and the players we have coming back, and you look at the dip in form we had - if we had started playing like we have in the last few games a little earlier...but that’s what makes football the way it is.”

Dean Marney is a doubt for the remaining games with the knock he sustained against Middlesbrough, but Paterson could now be involved: “Dean’s just tweaked his medial knee ligament again so he’s sore at the moment, and whether or not he comes back before the end of the season, I’m not sure.

“We’re lucky to have had that coincide with Chris’ return, and he’s been excellent in the two games.

“But we want to get Dean back this season, and if not, the beginning of the next.

“Pato’s done a longer rehab this time and worked extremely hard, and this was another big step for him.

“He has a chance.”