Heaton – ‘We’ll stick to what we believe in’

Clarets skipper Tom Heaton says Burnley will stick to their principles, despite being without a win in five games.
Tom Heaton claims a high ball at QPR on SaturdayTom Heaton claims a high ball at QPR on Saturday
Tom Heaton claims a high ball at QPR on Saturday

Burnley sit fifth in the Championship ahead of tonight’s game at second place Middlesbrough.

But while they haven’t tasted victory since beating Fulham 3-1 at Turf Moor, they have only lost once in 11 outings as well.

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After the goal-less draw at QPR on Saturday, Heaton – who was largely underemployed – feels there are encouraging signs.

He said: “If you look back to the promotion season, everything has evolved since then, but there was a lot of spells where we didn’t win a few games on the bounce, and it’s very difficult to avoid that in the Championship, there’s not many teams that ever do that.

“The important thing is to keep the momentum going and keep getting points on the board, and this is a good point away from home in tough circumstances.

“We want and need to win games, but we won’t be far away with performances like that. We’re sticking to what we believe in, we’re not losing many games, and I think the wins are around the corner.

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“We just have to stick to the principles and the process we believe in.

“It doesn’t feel far away and we’ve shown patches of it this season.

“There are great things to take from today. We keep building and keep moving forward.”

The schedule, in terms of number and difficulty of games, doesn’t get any easier, but Heaton is looking forward to taking on one of the pre-season promotion favourites tonight: “It’s a busy month. We’ve had a reminder this week from the manager to take it one game at a time in that busy period and that’s what we’ll do.

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“It’s stood us in good stead in the past and we’ll stick to it.

“It’s another good game - under the lights at the Riverside it will be a good night, but we’ll be focusing on what we want to do and come out with three points.

“All the teams we’ve played away recently have been very good and at the top end of the table, but we try not to differentiate between teams at the top and bottom and home or away for home.

“We try to go about it with the same principles and the same mentality.

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“On paper it’s a tough place to come to but what we’re trying to do doesn’t affect us.

“QPR found it difficult to beat us and we hard to beat.

“If we keep getting points away from home, then we will keep moving forward.”

Saturday was a sixth clean sheet of the season, and Heaton was a happy man in that regard: “You need a great foundation and that defensive base. Being tough to play against. That stat shows it.

“We need to retain that and get a few more wins perhaps, but that’s not unduly worrying us.”