Sean Dyche confident 'humble' Burnley won't take Lincoln lightly

By Matt T
16 February 2017

Burnley may be used to playing the underdog this season but manager Sean Dyche is convinced his "humble" side will be just as ready for the challenge of non-league Lincoln.

The Clarets know all about upsetting the odds, having defied gloomy expectations to sit 12th in the Premier League with eye-catching results against Liverpool, Everton and Southampton not to mention last week's draw against table-topping Chelsea.

But Saturday will see them kick-off against as heavy favourites in their FA Cup fifth-round clash against National League leaders Lincoln, who sit 81 places lower in the food chain.

Yet Dyche's squad has plenty of individuals who know about life away from the top flight, not least the likes of George Boyd, Andre Gray, Ashley Barnes and Tendayi Darikwa, who have first-hand experience of life outside the Football League.

Complacency, therefore, is no concern despite a big season of cup upsets.

"We approach it the same way we do any team. There's a nice humble feel about the group here," said Dyche, whose spent the majority of his own career in the lower leagues.

"They've had to earn everything. There's players here who've had to earn the right to be where they are.

"A few here have had a few knocks, a few have had to go backwards to come forward again. They have some good markers in their own minds from when they've been in smaller situations.

"I don't think many have lost sight of that, they know they have to be ready to perform.

"You have to be mentally prepared for the fact there's 11 out there trying to beat you and not take it for granted because they're that many places below you. There's not a divine right to win football matches, you have to earn everything you get."

Dyche typically operates with a compact first-team squad and rarely rotates in the league. He has taken the chance to freshen up his team in cup action this term but does so now from a stronger base than before.

Where in previous campaigns Burnley's squad men may have been significantly less experienced or represented a sizeable downgrade, he now believes he can make changes without compromising on quality.

Wales striker Sam Vokes, Liverpool loanee Jon Flanagan and Iceland winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson are among those who can expect to see action at the weekend.

"Our changes are different this time around, we're not using kids who have never played or only a handful of times, we're not giving debuts, it's mostly rounded players who are doing well in their careers," he said.

"The thing I've been pleased about is when we do mix the side it still looks like what we're about, there's still an identity to what we do. That means every player knows how we operate and that's a really important thing."

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