Keane cropping up when it counts

Burnley's Michael Keane celebrates scoring a goal to make the score 1-1

Photographer Richard Martin-Roberts/CameraSport

Football - The Football League Sky Bet Championship - Burnley v Middlesbrough - Tuesday 19th April 2016 - Turf Moor - Burnley 

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Burnley's Michael Keane celebrates scoring a goal to make the score 1-1 Photographer Richard Martin-Roberts/CameraSport Football - The Football League Sky Bet Championship - Burnley v Middlesbrough - Tuesday 19th April 2016 - Turf Moor - Burnley � CameraSport - 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - admin@camerasport.com - www.camerasport.com

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Defender Michael Keane seems to have a knack of popping up with goals when it matters.

The 23-year-old former Manchester United man has been a vital component in helping to maintain Burnley’s unbeaten run which has now stretched to 20 games.

Keane scored with seconds remaining to salvage a point against Brighton at the Amex Stadium earlier in the month and emulated that feat in the top-of-the-table clash with Middlesbrough at Turf Moor midweek.

Aitor Karanka’s side had threatened to open up a five-point gap over the Clarets courtesy of Jordan Rhodes’s opener - while dumping them out of the automatic promotion spots in the process - but Keane’s heroics from substitute Matt Taylor’s corner completely changed the complexion of the Championship.

“It was similar to the one at Brighton where I got myself in to position, got a bit of luck and managed to knock it in,” recalled Keane.

“It’s up there. I couldn’t split the two to be honest. This one is maybe a bit more special being in front of the home fans but we’re still a bit disappointed that we didn’t win in the end because it’s a game we came in to wanting to win at home.

“I thought we did enough to win in the second half so there’s still a tiny bit of disappointment there even though it was brilliant to come back the way we did. They were both special feelings.

“They could be vital come the end of the season, particularly against our rivals up there at the top. They could be massive for us.”

While the Clarets have embarked on a spectacular sequence of results since their Boxing Day defeat to Hull City at the KC Stadium, Keane acknowledges that it will only hold any relevance if they achieve promotion to the Premier League.

With the Clarets winning 13 games while keeping 10 clean sheets in that spell, Keane said: “That comes with momentum. We’ve won a lot of games but recently we’ve had a few draws - a few disappointing draws and a few brilliant draws as well.

“There’s been ups and downs but it’s been a fantastic run and we just need to keep it going now for three more games. God knows how many points we’re going to need at the end of the season but three more wins is all we’re focussing on.

“It’s a great honour to be on such a good run. It’s something that we’ve earned and we’ve worked hard for it every day. We do all the right things and we never know when we’re beaten. It’s nice but it only counts if we get somewhere with it.

“We’ve got three more games now and it’ll only mean something if we get over the line and seal automatic promotion, if not win the league.

“We didn’t have a great December so looking back and seeing where we are now it’s been a hell of a run. We definitely would’ve snapped your hand off for it.”

Keane’s twin brother, Will, was on the scoresheet when Preston were victorious back in December, netting in the 63rd minute before Daniel Johnson added a second for the Lilywhites late on.

However, since the striker cut short his loan spell at the beginning of the year to return to Old Trafford, Keane says that he’s managed to convert him in to a Claret.

Ahead of tonight’s game at Deepdale, he said: “He’s not involved anymore but I’m glad he’s not playing. It was disappointing when they came here and did a job on us but hopefully we’ll go there, put in a good performance like we did tonight and get a result.

“He hasn’t (mentioned the goal) to be fair. He’s turned in to a Burnley fan now for the last few games so he’s rooting for us.”