ONE AND D WINN OF TH MO

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Chris Dunlavy

SEAN Dy­che is 25-1 for the Manch­ester United job. “Re­ally?” ex­claims the Burn­ley boss. “I wouldn’t put a ten­ner on me. They must have got the Mour­in­hos mixed up and not re­alised I was the gin­ger one!”

Maybe, but af­ter mas­ter­mind­ing the most un­likely pro­mo­tion to the Pre­mier League since Black­pool in 2010, even the Spe­cial One him­self should tip his hat to the gruff, griz­zled 42-year-old.

Shorn of top-scorer Char­lie Austin on the eve of the sea­son and pegged at 18-1 for pro­mo­tion – the fourthlow­est odds in the di­vi­sion – no­body gave the Clarets a prayer in Au­gust.

But ten swash­buck­ling, breath­tak­ing months on, Burn­ley are back in the Pre­mier League. Most in­cred­i­ble of all, Dy­che did it with a wage budget five times less than QPR and a to­tal trans­fer out­lay of just £400,000.

“It’s funny,” says Dy­che, who through­out it all has stuck rigidly to his ‘one game at a time’ mantra, dis­play­ing both zen-like calm and af­fa­ble good hu­mour.

“I’m usu­ally a good sleeper in any sit­u­a­tion. Be­fore a big game, I never re­ally got anx­ious. But for some rea­son, I can’t sleep at the minute.

“The jour­ney’s over and I keep think­ing ‘Bloody hell, we’ve got it done’. I think it’s more ex­cite­ment than any­thing else. It’s sud­denly real.”

That re­al­ity fi­nally hit home on Easter Mon­day, a 2-0 home win over Wi­gan end­ing the stub­born but for­lorn re­sis­tance of third-placed Derby.

Yet whilst the eight point gap pro­vided a com­fort­able cush­ion for the Clarets, Dy­che says it was a psy­cho­log­i­cal bur­den.

“What made it more anx­ious than any­thing was when the team ac­cel­er­ated into a big gap,” says the for­mer Ch­ester­field skip­per.

“In any kind of race, if the gap is

Con­struct

mar­ginal it could go ei­ther way and ev­ery­one knows it. With the gap, people stopped see­ing us as un­der­dogs and it was like ‘Come on then, let’s see what you’ve got.”

“Then you get in­juries and people go ‘Oooh, it’ll never last’. Mind, you ev­ery­one up here seems to do that all the time any­way!

“Deep down, I al­ways thought the Black­pool game (a 1-0 win on Good Fri­day) was the one that would do it. Be­cause af­ter that, stats start kick­ing in.

“When we beat Black­pool it meant Derby would have to carry their win­ning run past six games. Only four teams this sea­son have put more than six to­gether.

“That’s us, Wi­gan, QPR and Derby. Are they go­ing to do six again? It’s pos­si­ble but highly im­prob­a­ble.That’s why I thought the Black­pool game was mas­sive.”

Now, of course, comes a more bru­tal sort of re­al­ity.Whilst Burn­ley’s suc­cess is heart-warm­ing it was also un­ex­pected.

Un­like cham­pi­ons Le­ices­ter, the Clarets are not in the slight­est bit pre­pared for life in the top flight – a di­vi­sion they last graced for a sin­gle sea­son in 2009-10.

There are plenty of play­ers in their ranks who will fit right in. Strike pair Danny Ings and Sam Vokes have scored 46 goals be­tween them this sea­son and would have at­tracted Pre­mier League in­ter­est any­way.

So too would Kieran Trip­pier, the ma­raud­ing right-back whose all­round game should see him push­ing for Eng­land honours in com­ing years.

Yet there are oth­ers who will not. And with a wafer-thin squad – Burn­ley have used fewer play­ers than any Cham­pi­onship side this term – re­cruit­ment will need to be ex­ten­sive.

The es­ti­mated £120m prize for a sin­gle sea­son in the Pre­mier League will help, but Dy­che has warned fans not to ex­pect mar­quee names.

“We won’t be sign­ing any­one from Man City, put it that way,” he laughs. “We’ll be shop­ping in the lower end fi­nance-wise and my chal­lenge is to con­struct a team to be com­pet­i­tive. We’ve just got to shop wisely and it’s more dif­fi­cult now be­cause qual­ity costs.

“We al break the the fu­ture itive and com­ing u line is.

“I’ll spe about wh game. I’m but I’m n per­son in

“There be­lieve w of a chanc to the cha

“And

GET­TING THE PARTY STARTED: Burn­ley play­ers cel­e­brate pro­mo­tion. Right Ash­ley Barnes af­ter scor­ing the first goal against Wi­gan

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