TOM Heaton believes Burnley’s team ethic means the Clarets are bigger than any individual in the squad and will be able to withstand any big-name departures this summer.
As well as looking to bring new faces in Turf Moor boss Sean Dyche will almost certainly have to cope with exits.
Michael Keane is likely to be the most notable of those, with the 24-year-old, who has a year left on his contract, set to leave this summer. Andre Gray’s deal also expires in 12 months, leading to speculation over his future, while out of contract George Boyd also appears to be heading for the exit door.
But the Clarets have coped with departures before under Dyche, particularly after the 2014-15 Premier League campaign when Danny Ings, Kieran Trippier and Jason Shackell left.
And captain Heaton believes the unity established inside the dressing room helps to offset the loss of key men.
“I think the way we work here, our biggest strength is the team ethic, that unity,” the 31-year-old said.
“We have good individuals, but we’ve had players injured and suspended, and other players have come in and done fantastically well. We really are a team.
“When players do well, they will be talked about getting moves here, there and everywhere, but that’s part and parcel of it.
“Whatever happens, we’ll deal with it and keep moving forward.”
Heaton has spent four seasons at Turf Moor, twice winning promotion from the Championship and now helping the Clarets to stay in the Premier League.
And he warned the top flight that when Burnley get it right they can be a ‘force to be reckoned with’.
“Inside the four walls here, we have a belief of what we can achieve,” he said.
“In my first season here we were fourth favourites to be relegated and got promoted, which was probably even more of an achievement.
“We have a belief in who we are and what we do, and it’s been proved to work. When we get it right, we can be a force to be reckoned with.”
And the skipper highlights Burnley’s away win at Crystal Palace last season as an example of that belief paying them back, finally claiming a win on the road at the 18th attempt in the top flight season.
“Early in the season, away from home, we didn’t live up to the standards we expect,” he said.
“But we got on top of it around the turn of the year, didn’t get the results we arguably deserved, but got a couple of draws and then got the monkey off our back.
“We stuck to what we believe in, didn’t get too distracted with the outside noise, and it culminated in a great performance and result at Palace.”
Source : LancashireTelegraph