History in the making for Ward

Defender Stephen Ward is looking to create a little piece of history with the Clarets in the final six games of the campaign.

Friday, 14th April 2017, 3:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:52 pm
Burnley's Stephen Ward in action Photographer David Shipman/CameraSport The Premier League - Middlesbrough v Burnley - Saturday 8th April 2017 - Riverside Stadium - Middlesbrough World Copyright © 2017 CameraSport. All rights reserved. 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - [email protected] - www.camerasport.com

After a goal-less draw with Boro took the club to 36 points, the Republic of Ireland international is determined to wrap up Premier League survival for the first time.

Burnley have tried and failed on two occasions, falling five points short in 2009/10 and 2014/15, but Sean Dyche’s side have already bettered the return from both of the aforementioned seasons and sit 12th in the division.

Having opened up an eight-point cushion over Swansea City, who currently occupy the final relegation slot, the 31-year-old said: “It’s massive.

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“We’ve not done it before, but the manager here has been outstanding with the team he’s built, we’ve got a new training facility and everything is going in the right direction.

“In the week, it’s all about what we do on the pitch, and we need to make sure that this club stays in the Premier League and makes a little bit of history.”

Ward, who staved off the drop in the top flight with Wolves, added: “The season has been great so far. I tend not to look back on seasons until they’re finished, so at the minute it’s all about recovering and getting ready for the next game.

“The aim is to always stay in the league and finish as high as you can, and we know that we’ve given ourselves a good platform to do that.

“We’re very happy with the season that we’ve had so far, but we don’t want it to be in vain.

“We want to finish strongly so then in the off-season we can enjoy what we’ve done and move on to get ready for another year in the Premier League.”

The Clarets moved into double figures for clean sheets two terms ago when keeping Hull City, Stoke City and Aston Villa out in the final few encounters.

The result at the Riverside was the ninth time this season that Burnley hadn’t been breached in the top flight, and Ward is hopeful of adding to that.

With the threat of Romelu Lukaku, Kevin Mirallas and Ross Barkley looming at Goodison Park, he said: “It’s down to the manager and the work rate of the team – it’s not just down to us at the back.

“We’ve got tremendous spirit and everyone wants to work as hard as they can for the team to make sure that we do make it tough for teams.

“Every week it’s going to be tough, because you’re up against world class players and different styles and different players.

“We’ll do our homework in the week and get prepared again, because we’re not assured of safety yet and we need to keep fighting in every game.

“At the minute we just want to try and be as tight a unit as we can.

“We’ve come up against different combinations and different players every week, and at the minute we’re defending well as a unit.”