Burnley assistant boss Craig Bellamy: "Would it be too early if we got promoted? I think it would be tough next year!"

"I've seen so many people have million dollar dreams on a minimum wage work ethic!"

Assistant manager Craig Bellamy won't be trying to cut any corners in his bid to win the lottery with Burnley.

The 43-year-old former Wales international knows he'll have to work overtime if he's to land the winning ticket.

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A Premier League return won't come easy, especially after the wholesale changes implemented at Turf Moor during the summer.

Burnley assistant manager Craig Bellamy looks on during the pre-match warm-up Photographer Ian Cook/CameraSport Skybet Championship - Cardiff City v Burnley - Saturday 1st October 2022 - Cardiff City Stadium - Cardiff World Copyright © 2022 CameraSport. All rights reserved. 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - [email protected] - www.camerasport.com

But putting in the hard yards is something that comes naturally to Bellamy, who has worked alongside boss Vincent Kompany as both player and coach.

"I've seen so many people have million dollar dreams on a minimum wage work ethic, it's never going to work, so if you have those dreams you've got to be prepared to put the hours in," he said, while featuring on The Central Club Podcast. "It comes quite naturally to us.

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"There are so many times when we're leaving quite late at night and we'll just stay at the hotel around the corner, because it's too late to be going back anywhere else. No-one complains, we love this, it's what we do. It's been enjoyable.

"Here you're just left with football and you're backed. They support you on everything, it's just football again. That's what we live for. We do work long hours, I believe it demands that."

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Burnley assistant manager Craig Bellamy Photographer Alex Dodd/CameraSport The EFL Sky Bet Championship - Burnley v Luton Town - Saturday 6th August 2022 - Turf Moor - Burnley World Copyright © 2022 CameraSport. All rights reserved. 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - [email protected] - www.camerasport.com

The Clarets are a club in transition; 16 new players in, with five of those joining on loan deals, and 13 players out, including a number of protagonists from the Sean Dyche era.

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The complexion of the squad is unrecognisable from the previous decade, with new owners ALK Capital having to cut their cloth accordingly following their leveraged buy-out in 2020.

The sales of Nick Pope, Nathan Collins, Dwight McNeil and Maxwel Cornet pushed Burnley's accounts back towards the black, and freed up finances for a squad rebuild, while high-earners such as Ben Mee and James Tarkowski were removed from the wage bill.

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Bellamy would have liked to have kept hold of a handful of the club's megastars, but the ex-Newcastle United and Liverpool striker accepted that it just wasn't possible.

"Because of the turnover, when so many players left, and we brought so many players in because we had to build a squad, we haven't had the budget that people might think when you're straight out of the Premier League," he said. "There's money leftover, there's money going to be available, it really wasn't.

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"We've had more money than 99% of the other clubs in the league, but we've had to be smart with the money, it has had to be reinvested, because the age profile of the team was old.

"There were 15 players left, there were those that the club sold for a lot of money and they were Premier League players so they wanted to stay in the Premier League, which is completely fine."

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Bellamy added: "It was never a problem, we would have loved to have kept one or two of them, but it wasn't possible financially. It wasn't realistic, we had to give them the opportunity to play at the best level they can. That gave us a little bit of lee-way to rebuild the squad.

"The age profile was 22, 23, £2m here, £600,000 there, and building up, so the players will be with you for a while and we can hopefully create their value by making them better players and playing a way that we want to play."

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There were other opportunities to replenish the group's numbers before the window closed at the beginning of September — with Coventry City's Callum O'Hare high up on the list — but they weren't going to be held to ransom.

The Premier League is the dream, but Kompany, Bellamy and chairman Alan Pace won't bet the ranch on getting there, or compromise the health and future of the football club.

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Bellamy said: "For us as coaches and managers there should be a level of 'what's the future?' The most important aspect is the football club. We'll come and go; players, coaches, so the health of the football club and the supporters are the most important. How it is run is way more important than us coaches and managers and players.

"In order to do that you need somebody who is educated, but has the health of the football club at heart. They'll ensure that nothing is put at risk. Everyone could go and spend money; we could have taken a gamble on one or two players, but it would have put the club at risk, so we weren't going anywhere near it.

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"We can't put the club at risk, it's not our job to do that. This club has got to be healthy for a long time after us. That's what we want to be remembered for as well."

The new-look side hasn't made a bad start at all under the new regime. Burnley are in the top six after 11 games, having endured a solitary defeat, they're one of the highest scorers in the division, and they're dominating in-game statistics.

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And there's still plenty more to come. Prospects such as Scott Twine and Anass Zaroury have barely featured while others, including Brentford's Halil Dervisoglu and injured Darko Churlinov, are yet to come into contention.

"We're in a good place and I believe we're going to get stronger as well due to the players we have," he said. "We've got a lot of quality and there are one or two boys that we haven't quite seen yet.

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"We got them late in the transfer window so they've only just been training with us so they're getting used to the system we play, getting used to their roles and what we expect. They're going to come in and have a big say on the season as well. I believe it could be a really good season for us."

With another transfer window upon us, in the New Year, the Clarets will have another opportunity to evaluate their progress, and re-examine whether the squad needs strengthening to help get them over the line.

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Bellamy feels promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt might come to soon for his young players, but the Cardiff-born former Bluebird, who won promotion to the PL with his hometown team, certainly wouldn't turn his nose up at it.

He concluded: "You have to build a team to stay there. Would it be too early if we got promoted? I think it would be tough next year, I think the group would need more backing again, but you can't turn down promotion, you don't get a chance to pick and choose.

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"Of course we would take it, but if it was next season when we went up, the third year I believe we'd stay up and we'd be strong, like Brentford and Brighton, when you can hold your own in the league and you can build.

"I feel we're just going to get stronger and I hope the players are able to get the rewards they deserve."