Eddie Howe ready for cup test in capital

CLARETS boss Eddie Howe feels his side have nothing to lose in their FA Cup fifth round tie at Premier League West Ham on Monday night (kick-off 8 p.m.).

Burnley go to the Boleyn Ground in good heart, having moved to within five points of the play-off places, taking seven points from big games against rivals Norwich, Watford and Cardiff.

The timing of the cup clash, moved to accommodate live television coverage from ESPN, means the Clarets will have two games in hand on several sides in the hunt for promotion, come their next league game at Preston a week tomorrow.

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But Howe is happy for the chance to pit his players against top-flight opposition, with the lure of a place in the last eight on offer.

Howe looked ahead to the game: “I think it’s a nice distraction, and a different kind of pressure.

“We’ll look to enjoy it. I don’t think we’ve got an awful lot to lose.

“We want to go there and put on a performance against a Premier League club, who, despite their league position, are a good Premier League club.

“We’d love to continue the run and go as far as we can.”

Howe has lost only once in seven games since taking the helm, guiding Burnley through the fourth round with a 3-1 win over Burton Albion in his first home game in charge.

And he believes there is a growing sense that Burnley can make a concerted push for promotion in the remaining 15 games of the season.

He said: “I think when you go to places like Cardiff and get results, momentum does build.

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“I think we’re in a good run, and at the moment we’d like the games to continue and come thick and fast.”

Asked whether Burnley could be the horse that comes through on the rails, he added: “I’d love to think so. All we’ve got to do is concentrate on the short-term and not get ahead of ourselves.

“We’ve still got a lot of tough games to come, we’re in the middle of a really tough spell of away games and we want to get as many points from that spell as we can.”

The side appear to be taking an identity in line with Howe’s principles and beliefs, and he hopes to bring the best out of the players at his disposal: “I think it’s a case of going in with your own ideas.

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“I haven’t changed my philosophy from when I was at Bournemouth, it’s been the same.

“I’m gradually imprinting my beliefs on the club. You can’t come in and do that straight away, I think it’s a gradual process.

“I’ve inherited a very talented squad so I’m very lucky in that respect. It’s just a case of trying to get the lads to play to their potential.

“Obviously a new manager was appointed for a reason. I felt it best to imprint my style on the team because that’s why I’ve been employed.

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“I’m definitely not going to hang around and let things drift.

“It’s a case of grabbing it and doing the job as I see it.”

Howe will be without new signings Charlie Austin and Marvin Bartley, who are both cup-tied, but while Steven Thompson - whose goal rescued a point at Cardiff - will go under the knife next month due to an infection in his groin, he is expected to play through the pain barrier until his surgery.

Howe said: “There’s nothing to say that he couldn’t start a game in this period before he goes under the knife.”