We get the lowdown from die-hard Burnley fan Alex Purcell ahead of their trip down to the South Coast for Saturday afternoon's Premier League clash between a stalling Southampton versus a resilient Burnley side fighting for Premier League survival.
St. Mary's Musings: What were your season expectations and how have they changed since?
Alex Purcell: Realistically, we were, and probably still are in many people's eyes, favourites to go down. My expectations were to simply keep hold of Sean Dyche and showing the Premier League a squad of British players and little money, compared to some of the other relegation battlers, can put up a decent fight.
I'm disappointed in Burnley for spending £1.5mil on Lukas Jutkiewicz because of the VINGS (Sam Vokes and Danny Ings) partnership and Barnes proving to be a fantastic back up while Vokes was recovering from injury. Also, I felt Marvin Sordell and Steven Reid were disappointing signings but they all fell into SD's high work-rate mould. <!-- ######## START FLOATED VIDEO SNIPPET ######## -->
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Now, I feel our impressive performances have not generated the rewards they arguably deserve but the belief of staying up has grown significantly.
SMM: What do you and other Burnley fans think of Sean Dyche?
AP: Sean Dyche is fantastic and I can speak for all Burnley fans when I say we were concerned the Owen Coyle story could be repeated.
Coyle left us in the lurch mid-season during the last time we were in the Premier league and it really disrupted our progress. But, look at him now! I can't help but laugh. I think Sean Dyche will have learned from Coyle's mistake in using promotion as a stepping stone to a ‘bigger club'. If Sean Dyche does keep us up, he gets manager of the year award. 100%
SMM: What are Burnley's chances of staying up?
AP: I would have liked to see us make a least one signing in January but with sides like Fulham offering £11million for players like Ross McCormack, it saw asking prices for players rise drastically and we simply couldn't compete without denting the club financially. Someone like Jack Cork would have been great to see in a Burnley shirt again, and our lack of activity in January could sadly be the deciding factor but we all need to share Sean's belief.
SMM: How important was it to keep Danny Ings in the January transfer window?
AP: Ings did the right thing in staying and fair play to him. I think its inevitable he will go elsewhere after this season, and I never begrudged the decisions of players like Jay Rodriguez and Charlie Austin. With the likes of Liverpool, Real Sociedad and even Manchester United rumoured to be interested in Ings, all clubs who can all potentially quadruple his wages, Ings moving away is just bound to happen.
It's a massive bonus for him to be staying this season. Ings hasn't moved out of my fantasy team all year, he has more goals and assists than other English strikers like Welbeck and it's a shame Austin and Harry Kane are doing so well because I would like to see Ings playing for England's first team.
SMM: What do you think of Southampton as a football club?
AP: Southampton are quite a local club to where I live now and I've been to see some remarkable games at St. Mary's like Saints 3 -4 Leeds a few years back and I used to enjoy watching Theo Walcott there back in the day as well. They're a good club with a great youth system: Southampton are important for English football.
SMM: If you could sign any Saints player, who would it be and why?
AP: OBVIOUSLY Jay Rod. Born and bred in Burnley, Jay Rodriguez was my hero for a good few years.
SMM: What is your prediction for the match?
AP: Saints' goals have dried up a fair bit recently but have conceded the least goals this season (only 21!).
I think we battle well as always and don't make it easy for Saints but they nick a late winner.
Southampton 1 -0 Burnley