Experienced Duff looking after own house in promotion chase

Seasoned campaigner: Michael Duff wins an aerial duel with Liam Moore at Leicester
Seasoned campaigner: Michael Duff wins an aerial duel with Liam Moore at Leicester

Burnley hit 50 points after their 25th league game of the season on Saturday - the 2-1 win at Yeovil Town.

That milestone is often considered the first port of call in the campaign - a recognised safety mark, although last season saw Peterborough United relegated with 54.

The next mark to look for is the 72 points or so which often means a play-off berth, and after that, who knows?

The Clarets remain in an automatic promotion position with 21 games to play, having spent more time on top of the table than any other side so far this season, before being deposed by Leicester City.

Were Sean Dyche’s side to emulate their return of two points a game over the remainder of the season, and finish with 92 points, that would usally be title-winning form.

But, with Nigel Pearson’s Foxes ahead of championship-form, four points ahead of Burnley, and QPR a point behind the Clarets, it is all to play for over the next three and a half months.

Michael Duff, who celebrated his 36th birthday with a win at Huish Park on Saturday, is simply focussing on what Burnley do, without looking over their shoulders, or up at Leicester.

He has seen it all in 10 years with the club, after enjoying a meteoric rise into the Football League with former club Cheltenham Town, where he won three promotions in six seasons.

And Duff smiled: “We’re safe hopefully!

“We’ve played 25 games, and two points a game isn’t a bad return.

“But we know what we have to do.

“You have to look after your own house, it doesn’t matter what the other teams do.

“It’s a cliche, but we do take one game at a time, just isolate games.

“We have an idea what we need to do, but we’ll look to keep doing what we’re doing, and see where we end up.

“If we continue to get two points a game, I’d like to think we’d be there or thereabouts, but it’s alright talking about it...

“We’ve shown we’re not a flash in the pan, but teams are ready for us now, and teams have upped their performances against us.”

Duff returned at Yeovil after missing the FA Cup loss at Southampton, with what manager Dyche referred to as “maintenance”.

Duff, who has started 20 of the 25 league games so far, explained: “I felt my knee at the Wigan game and then I had a bit of a tight hamstring after the Huddersfield game.

“It was nice to get a break, but nice to get straight back into the team as well because Longy (Kevin Long) came in and did really well.

“We haven’t got many, but we’ve got good quality in the squad.”

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