Forget Liverpool’s SAS (Sturridge & Suarez), the best strike force in English football is Vings who have a total of 18 goals between them this season. That is of course, Sam Vokes and Danny Ings of Burnley who have started the season in goalscoring form much to the surprise of many. Both had never scored over five goals in a season and when Charlie Austin left Turf Moor there was a fear that it would be a difficult season for Burnley, but it has been quite the opposite.
At the weekend their nine game winning streak came to end as they could only manage a draw at Millwall. However it was a fought out draw as they came from two goals down to level in the second half. The streak was no fluke, last weekend they inflicted a first defeat on QPR in a 2-0 win.
The draw on Saturday showed Burnley’s mental character, they are currently showing all the credentials to up near the top come May. Manager Sean Dyche spoke of team mentality to the Lancashire Telegraph following the draw at Millwall:
“We are building a really strong mentality here and it showed again.” He continued to praise his team: “We were 2-0 down and there was no disappointment from the players, the way they responded immediately shows that.”
There was a sense ahead of the season that Burnley may do something this season, they spent wisely bringing in reliable players such as Scott Arfield from Huddersfield, Tom Heaton from Bristol City and David Jones from Wigan Athletic. While they cleared out many of the players to clear the wage bill. The start made has only paid dividends to the hard work in the summer and the quality of manager that Sean Dyche is.
There is question of depth with Burnley, if either Danny Ings or Sam Vokes suffer injuries there are unlikely candidates to replace their goals. Ryan Noble who has only scored three league goals in his career would be called upon. The hope for Burnley would be that they could turn him into a goalscorer.
The month leading up to Christmas is pivotal for Burnley in maintaining their promotion challenge. They face three very important games in the build up to Christmas against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on November 23rd, Watford at home on December 3rd and Leicester at the King Power on December 14th. Positive results in them games and Burnley are a real deal. Certainly if they win the latter, Leicester’s win at the weekend against Watford cemented them as firm title contenders.
Currently the most inform side in the Championship, it will be interesting to see whether the start has been a flash in the pan or whether it can be maintained. At Christmas we may be able to analyse Burnley’s promotion credentials with a bit more conviction.