Following a momentous, unexpected season in which they romped to automatic promotion with ease, many Burnley fans must now confront the harsh realities that life in the top flight will reveal.
Much like Crystal Palace of last year, Sean Dyche’s side have fought well above their means throughout this season, blowing expectation out of the water and reaching the promised land.
Looking forward, it is obvious that Burnley need to recruit heavily throughout the summer to bolster a wafer-thin first eleven that is unlikely to withstand the Premier League.
In Kieran Trippier and Jason Shackell the Clarets possess two performers of genuine Premier League class who will be key to their survival bid. Tom Heaton, formerly of Manchester United, may also continue to prove his worth at a higher level.
It is the creaking legs of Michael Duff, now 35, and the solid but unspectacular Ben Mee at left back who will offer cause for concern. Switching Mee to his natural centre back role could solve one issue, with David Edgar and Kevin Long not appearing ready for a starting berth.
Having gained many plaudits for the high-tempo, open style that has led to promotion, the flat four in midfield has provided the base all season for this. Despite the lack of star names, Wigan reject David Jones, alongside Duracell bunny Dean Marney have shone consistently in the centre.
Loan signing Michael Kightly and free transfer Scott Arfield have been perhaps the most surprisingly potent pair of wingers in the Championship, providing plenty ammunition for the much lauded front pairing of Vokes and Ings to thrive upon.
Yet in order to maintain this fantastic momentum, Burnley will need to invest in at least one key signing per position to prevent the almost overwhelming pressure placed on his key players this season. However, after Crystal Palace’s gluttonous accumulation of players last summer, this must act as a cautionary tale in upsetting the boat with too many new signings.
It is no surprise that, of the Crystal Palace starters that secured survival against West Ham, only four were signed this season.
Top class Championship players who might slip under the radar of bigger club are the obvious targets, with the likes of James Vaughan, Jonathan Hogg and Chris Burke all capable of the step up for smaller fees.
The likes of Thomas Carroll, Jake Livermore and Ravel Morrison could be seen as available options from higher-end clubs. In all, it will be an intriguing summer transfer window that may well decide Burnley’s fate before a ball has been kicked. Yet, as Tony Pulis proved, it’s perhaps not all-important.
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