Sean Dyche eyeing strong finish after Burnley exceed expectations
Burnley manager Sean Dyche admits his side have surpassed expectations in effectively achieving safety in the Premier League this season.
The Clarets are six points clear of the bottom three, and with just two games remaining should be safe from relegation barring a dramatic change in goal difference.
Dyche's side travel to Bournemouth this weekend on the back of their first away win of the season last time they were on the road - a 2-0 win at West Ham - and could yet pull off an impressive top-half finish.
"I think the key marker for me, without judging everyone else, is that it was only the first game of the season when we were in the bottom three," he told the club website.
"That's a fantastic marker for a side that was given no chance.
"I don't want to over-egg that because it was brought out a lot last weekend, but it's a fact.
"No-one gave us any chance at all of being in the Premier League.
"So to have only been in there once - after the first game of the season, which we all know can go for or against you - I think is pretty impressive, to end up where we are and still looking to try and win another couple of games.
"Historically we have a strong way of finishing seasons and we want to finish this season strong as well."
Dyche comes up again former Burnley manager Eddie Howe, who has also been earning rave reviews for his work with one of the smaller clubs in the league.
The Cherries, like Burnley, have barely been involved in the relegation scrap and are currently 11th in the table on 42 points and Dyche has been impressed by Howe's work.
"I think Eddie has done a fantastic job," he said. "His successes of late have been amazing, but I look back when he first was there and I think that was an even bigger success, strangely.
"When you look at the situation they were in when he was first there, and to have the club where it is now, I think it is fantastic."
Burnley may welcome back in-demand England centre-back Michael Keane for the trip to the Vitality Stadium.
Keane has returned to training after missing the 2-2 draw with West Brom last week through injury, but his defensive partner Ben Mee is likely to miss out.
"Keano has had a day on the grass with us," said Dyche. "We will see how he reacts to that tomorrow.
"Ben Mee might be around but I think it is unlikely. He is still settling down with the injury."