Reading travel to Burnley on Saturday in the first leg of their Coca-Cola Championship play-off semi-final with boss Steve Coppell admitting he is a huge admirer of Owen Coyle.
The Clarets have been revived since Coyle arrived from St Johnstone in November 2007 and the highly-rated Glaswegian, whose work at Turf Moor has attracted admiring glances from several top-flight clubs, has made Burnley a force to be reckoned with despite limited resources.
Coppell, whose side have faltered badly in recent weeks, said: "I have great respect for Burnley. They've played so many games this season and at various times people thought they might blow up but Owen Coyle has done a terrific job."
He added: "They are the grittiest team around. They kept coming back, back and back.
"It's a tremendous compliment to Owen and his players. It's not a big squad but very, very tight."
Burnley finished fifth - their highest league position for 33 years - in a marathon campaign which has seen them play 58 games and dump Fulham, Chelsea and Arsenal out of the Carling Cup along the way.
Coyle, 42, said: "Since I came to the club I've been very positive about everything we're doing.
"A lot of people tipped us to be down at the bottom end of the Championship at the start of the season, although we knew we had the quality to get up to the top end.
"We're nowhere near where we would like to be and we've had to bite the bullet a couple of times this season when money hasn't been available.
"That's understandable in the current climate but we've not moaned about it, we've got on with it and I've asked this group of players to trust themselves and their team-mates. They've done that and we've shown that we're a very good team."
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