LEADING scorer Jay Rodriguez is determined to fire the Clarets in to the Premier League.
The 22-year-old featured in two Carling Cup ties against Hartlepool and Barnsley when the Clarets played in England’s top tier during 2009/10, but was then loaned out to the Tykes by then boss Owen Coyle.
However, that missed chance has only galvanised the striker’s ambition to compete among the country’s elite with his hometown club.
Rodriguez, who has 17 months remaining on his current Turf Moor contract, said: “It’s massive to get this club into the Premier League.
“It would be a great feeling to get them into the Premier League.
“I think every player in the dressing room and the staff wants that, and we’re all working hard to do it. It’s something we believe we can do.
“Of course, I’d love to play in the Premier League with Burnley. It’s a great club.
“I missed out that year, but I don’t look back it’s just a case of looking to the next game, getting the points and hopefully getting into the play-offs.”
Eyebrows will no doubt be raised as to whether Eddie Howe’s youthful and relatively inexperienced squad can mount a serious play-off charge, but Rodriguez insists age isn’t a factor.
“Definitely not,” he said. “You can see we’ve got the belief, I don’t think it matters about age.
“We’re playing really well, so I don’t think age is a factor.
“We’ve got a good mix, a good squad, a good belief in the team.
“We’ve got a great energy but I think we’ve got the same experience as well, the likes of Duffo, Granty, the whole squad, the staff are brilliant as well.
“We’re working hard as a team and we’re putting into practice what we do in training.”
That belief and energy was encapsulated in the second-half performance against Peterborough United, and it’s those traits that Rodriguez believes will guide the Clarets towards the top six in the Championship.
“This squad we’ve got is great, we’ve got a great team spirit, as you can see we work hard and we put into play what we do in training all week and it’s shown with the results we’re getting,” said Rodriguez.
“From the start of the season to now, we’ve progressed massively.
“We’ve got that belief and the team spirit, and we all know we need to work harder every training session and every game.
“We look forward to it, and we’re all enjoying our football.”
Jay Rod’s sublime solo effort against Posh, his fifth in as many matches, fired his tally to 17 for the season.
The next target is 20, but he’s confident of scoring even more.
“I just received it from Zavon (Hines), took it towards the box and it opened up nicely, so I just put it away,” he said.
“It’s really good, I’m happy with that but I need to keep working hard and keep working at my game and hopefully score more goals.
“I’m really chuffed with how I’m scoring but I just want to keep scoring more goals.
“I’m not too far off 20, but I’m still wanting to hit 20 and if I get there progress even more. I just look to the next game to try to score as many goals as I can.”
So far this season, the Clarets have excelled on their travels, picking up 24 points in 14 games in comparison to 20 points in 15 games on home territory.
But Rodriguez isn’t fussy about where the points come from.
He said: “It was really cold against Peterborough, the weather made it really difficult, but I thought the lads worked really hard and we were happy to get a point in the end.
“With the chances we missed, I thought it might be one of those days.
“But we kept going, we got the point and we’re probably disappointed not to get the three points.
“We were annoyed with ourselves for the slow start, but we battled through and worked hard and we got something out of the game, so we’re pleased with that but maybe we should have got the three points.
“A point in the Championship is always important, it’s obviously better than getting beat, so we take it as a positive.
“But we’re disappointed not to have the three points.
“Of course, we need to keep picking up points and moving up the table.
“Hopefully we can do it on Saturday against Southampton.
“It will be a tough game, but we have every confidence that we’ll go there and get something from the game.
“I think it’s nothing to do with the home form, I think it’s just the game in general, we need to take the maximum points from every game.
“But we look forward to the next game, and hopefully we can take the points.”
And the Clarets favourite has backed his misfiring strike partner Charlie Austin, with just one goal to his name since victory over Blackpool in October, to play his part.
“I don’t really look at anything, I just concentrate on my training and my own game,” he said.
“That’s all I can affect really.
“Charlie’s a massive part of this team.
“He works hard, he can get chances, the game in general it didn’t fall for us, but he’s a great player and he’s very important for us.”