Burnley's Ashley Westwood leads the way in friendly competition with winger Dwight McNeil

Burnley's Ashley Westwood is enjoying the friendly competition that he's got going on with team-mate Dwight McNeil.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 7:00 am
Burnley midfielder Ashley Westwood and West Ham United's Declan Rice

The duo have assisted more than a third of the Clarets' goals between them in the Premier League this term, though it's Westwood who just about leads the way.

The midfielder has laid on five goals in 19 starts for Sean Dyche's side this season, coming in home games against Norwich City, Everton, Newcastle United and Aston Villa as well as the 1-0 triumph over AFC Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.

McNeil, meanwhile, is one behind with four having also contributed against the Canaries at Turf Moor while adding assists in games against Wolves, Leicester City and West Ham United.

Practice clearly makes perfect for the pair, who often put in an extra shift after training at the Barnfield Training Centre in a bid to master their technique.

"We've looked a threat from set-pieces all season and we're still doing that," said Westwood. "It's a big weapon to have. We work on them a lot, they're a big weapon for us with the two big lads at the back.

"It's something you need to have and me and Dwight [McNeil] are always out there practicing. His free kick [against Chelsea] showed his quality and fair play to him, he's really taken the game on and we're proud of him.

"I've got more assists than him and I keep reminding him of that. He's doing very well and long may that continue. He's a great lad and he's coming out of his shell now.

"He gives me a bit of stick, but I just keep telling him that I'm still ahead of him on assists. He's a great lad and a great footballer."

Burnley will be reliant on the creativity of Westwood and McNeil when they welcome the Foxes on Sunday as they look to nip a poor run of form in the bud.

The Clarets have picked up six points from a possible 27 since the end of November, but Westwood feels that they'll only dig a deeper hole for themselves if they dwell on statistics like that.

With just three points separating them from his former club, Aston Villa, the 29-year-old said: "When you're in a bad patch that's what happens; things don't quite go your way. We're an honest group, we're a hard-working group and it's down to us to turn it around.

"The gaffer is always uplifting. You have a look at the results but you can't dwell on it in this game. If you do that then you'll find yourself in a big hole and that's one thing we don't do. We'll work hard and on Sunday we can hopefully get a good result.

"The league is so close this year. Up until the Sheffield United result [against West Ham United] we were five points off them, that's how crazy the league is. We'll just focus on ourselves and see where that takes us."