Steven Thompson is daring to dream

CLARETS striker Steven Thompson is daring to dream for the first time this season.

Thompson netted a crucial late equaliser against his former club Cardiff City on Tuesday night to leave Burnley five points off the play-offs with 15 games remaining.

It earned a seventh point from nine against sides that were all above Burnley in the table - Norwich, Watford and Cardiff - and the former Scotland international hopes the side are timing their charge for the top six at the perfect time.

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The squad have started to put a number of issues to bed - results on the road, and putting back-to-back wins together for the first time this season in the league.

And after a frustrating campaign to date, Thompson can feel a head of steam building.

Talking about his third goal of the season, he said: “It’s important we kept up our momentum, going into these two bigs games at Watford and Cardiff, and taking four out of six points is a good return, on the back of our win against Norwich before that.

“We’re building momentum and looking forward.

“This is the first time certainly I’ve felt we’re really picking up a bit of speed here.”

Manager Eddie Howe has made an immediate impact, losing only once in seven games and taking 11 points from 18 available, and Thompson hailed his influence: “The manager’s input has been brilliant.

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“Everybody gets a lift when a new manager comes in, and it’s natural for people to raise their game, but his standards are high, and we’re looking to maintain the standards we’ve set ourselves in the last three games.

“Consistency has been a big problem, we’ve got the players, we’ve got the squad, but to get out of this league, consistency is the be all and end all.

“The lads have strung three positive results together in a row now and we’ll be looking to add to that.”

Thompson will have an operation on an infection in his groin next month, but before that, he is prepared to play through the pain barrier and get more starts: “Obviously I was in for the Portsmouth game, and I was really pleased with how things went, and then the Burton game, which we won, but after that, young Charlie (Austin) has come in and done well - but it’s good to have competition.

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“Obviously I’d like to be starting every game, but it’s not to be at the moment.

“Everybody’s pitching in with goals though, that’s the way it’s got to be. The year we went up, under Owen Coyle, a lot of people chipped in from all over the pitch.

“You need matchwinners throughout your team because you can’t just rely on one or two people.”

His headed effort was his second in two games against his former club since joining Burnley in August 2008, and he felt it was the least the Clarets deserved: “For large spells of the game we had a lot of possession, maybe we didn’t create as many clear-cut chances as we would have liked, but we would have been pretty upset if we didn’t take something from the game.”

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And he remains popular with both sets of fans, with the Bluebirds supporters giving him a great welcome - the striker reciprocating by doing “The Ayatollah”: “The fans here always treated me well, so it’s nice to have a good rapport with them. The reception they gave me was great. I’ve got a lot of good friends down here and met a lot of lovely people in South Wales. I don’t know if they’ll be shouting for me again after I scored, but it was nice.”