Predicting Burnley to be relegated, but there are reasons to believe otherwise

Burnley

Having surprised many on their way to claiming promotion last season, Sean Dyche's Burnley are out to cause a few more upsets in their Premier League return.

Last season: 2nd (Championship)

Title odds: 7,500/1

Players in: Matt Gilks (Blackpool, free), Lukas Jutkiewicz (Middlesbrough, undisclosed), Michael Kightly (Stoke, undisclosed), Steven Reid (West Brom, free), Marvin Sordell (Bolton, undisclosed), Matt Taylor (West Ham, free)

Players out: Chris Baird (West Brom, free), David Edgar (Birmingham, free), Joseph Mills (Oldham, free), Junior Stanislas (Bournemouth, free), Brian Stock (released), Keith Treacy (Barnsley, free)

Having been tipped to struggle by many last season, Burnley proved the Championship’s surprise package, losing only five matches on their way to amassing an impressive 93 points behind champions Leicester.

Hailed by fans as the “Ginger Mourinho”, manager Sean Dyche as gone about building a hard-working, relentless side, who proved one of the fittest in the division, and his astute approach should see the team better prepared for the top-flight than their previous one-season spell in 2009/10.

The Clarets finished 18th that year, with Owen Coyle’s untimely mid-season departure for Bolton ripping the confidence from the club, although there were also impressive home victories over Manchester United, Everton and Tottenham to show for their efforts.

Those wins over the former two came within their opening three matches and, with the club set to host both Chelsea and United during the first month of the campaign, fans will be hoping for another fast start.

Reasons to be positive

Burnley have proved a remarkably well-organised unit under Dyche’s leadership, and that strong work ethic should serve them well in the fight for survival, having thrived with that underdog tag in the past.

There’s some clear quality in the squad too, with strike-pairing Danny Ings and Sam Vokes combining for 41 goals over the course of the 2013-14 campaign, and Kieran Trippier providing 12 assists from right-back.

In addition, their defence was the best in the Championship last season, conceding just 37 goals, although how the likes of captain Jason Shackell, Ben Mee and Michael Duff will hold up against superior top-flight opposition remains to be seen.

Trouble on the horizon?

Burnley have hardly set the transfer window alight this summer, continually failing in their attempts to land Troy Deeney and Craig Dawson, with concerns remaining about a lack of Premier League experience in the side.

The six solid but unspectacular additions have helped bolster a small squad but, with Vokes out for the start of the season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in March, Lukas Jutkiewicz and Marvin Sordell will have to prove themselves goalscorers at the highest level.

Key man: Danny Ings

Notching up 21 league goals last season, Ings will be tasked with picking up much of the scoring burden in Vokes’ absence, as the club's undisputed star man.

Arguably the Championship’s top performer in 2013-14, the 22-year-old is a huge talent, with rumours earlier this summer that Southampton were preparing a £10 million bid, but the step up to the Premier League will prove another test for his all-round abilities.

One to watch: Marvin Sordell

Sordell has yet to prove himself the prolific marksman many billed him as at Watford, but the former England under-21 international did show glimpses of potential while on loan at Charlton from Bolton last season.

Now reunited with Dyche, who coached the 23-year-old during his time with the Hornets, this season presents a prime chance for the ex-Bolton front man to prove to the doubters that he can perform at the top level.

Predicted finish: 19th

Solid team work and unity will only get you so far, with Burnley likely to be found out over the course of the 38 games, unless there are some impressive late arrivals.

They’ll be competitive, especially with promising players like Ings at their disposal, but avoiding relegation would still be a remarkable achievement for a club with their budget.

Nevertheless, Dyche's side have exceeded expectations in the past and, with many writing off their chances of survival, that team spirit and toughness could just see them shock a few people.

Where will Burnley finish this season?

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