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Burnley boss Dyche not ready to relax

Sean Dyche will not relax even if Burnley defeat Cardiff on Saturday.

What had looked a potential shoot-out for Premier League survival now appears a chance for the Clarets to secure their top-flight status after back-to-back wins over Wolves and Bournemouth.

That moved Burnley eight points ahead of the Bluebirds in the final relegation spot, and victory would extend the gap to 11 with only five games left for Neil Warnock’s side.

But Dyche will wait until safety is mathematically assured before starting to breathe more easily at the end of an up-and-down campaign.

He said: “You can’t guarantee it because, like anyone, you want to work on facts not maybes.

“I would suggest it (victory) would put us in a very strong position but we certainly won’t take anything for granted until we’ve looked after ourselves.

“We’re on a very good run again, a very good turnover of points, but we’ve got to continue doing that because more points are needed and that’s our intention.”

A strong run after Christmas looked to have turned things around for Burnley only for four successive defeats to drag them right back into trouble.

But the performances against Wolves and Bournemouth were particularly impressive, with Burnley up amongst the big boys in the form table for 2019.

Dyche said: “Statistically we’re strong in the second half of the season. You can’t guarantee results but we think we can guarantee certain things in our performances, and the energy and the effort level has always been high. The last couple of games have been very strong physical performances.”

Burnley will definitely be without winger Aaron Lennon (knee), midfielder Steven Defour (calf) and striker Peter Crouch, who is recuperating following appendix surgery and may not play again this season.

Right-back Phil Bardsley is also a major doubt after missing the trip to Bournemouth with a deep cut to his leg so Matt Lowton is expected to keep his place.

Cardiff have defied many people’s expectations by hanging on to their Premier League status for as long as they have but look hot favourites to join Fulham in making an immediate return to the Championship.

“They’re having a real go of it,” said Dyche. “I didn’t expect anything less. They’ve been questioned a few times on different things.

“At the end of the day you have to try to win games, they know that, and find the balance between opening up enough to score and staying closed enough to not concede.

“That’s been tricky for them this season, as it is for many teams, including ourselves. That’s the hardest balance I’ve found through my years in the Premier League.

“I’ve known Neil and his staff for a long time and I think he said recently it was like six cup finals. Well it’s difficult to win a cup final, so if it’s six then it’s difficult.”