Burnley may have played just a few games too many as their season could be dwindling in front of their very own devious eyes.
Being in only seventh spot is not a massive concern, but if the tenuous extra rounds of Carling Cup and FA Cup football weren’t played, Burnley may have cemented their place in the anxious playoffs a lot sooner.
Games against a string of the best clubs in the country would be pleasing on any eager fan’s eyes—Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, and Fulham have all played and been outwitted by The Clarets at some stage and that’s a true testament to manager Owen Coyle’s desire to the cause, that they not only matched their opponents but beat them conveniently.
Nevertheless, it would take noticeable bearing on Burnley’s rather small, depleted squad. The lack of players will mean that some will play up to or surpassing 60 games, and for any professional footballer that would be painstakingly difficult.
In hindsight, the success in the Carling Cup and FA Cup could be all in vain if the club were not to reach the playoffs.
The most recent highlighted game against Arsenal finished in a 3-0 reverse to the Premier League side as Burnley were knocked out of the FA Cup and now it is smash, bang back to reality of the doldrums of Championship football.
Just Championship football.
Burnley haven’t always been able to adjust to the football that is played in England’s second division after playing such prestigious teams. The stunning 3-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur (even though it prevented them from a Carling Cup Final) was followed by an impressive FA Cup tie draw against fellow Premier League side West Brom before a crushing defeat to lowly Watford in the bread and butter of the Championship.
As we enter the pinnacle moment of a lasting season, freshness is often the deciding factor between many tight encounters. Clubs around Burnley have much bigger squads to choose and that may be the difference.
Burnley have 10 games to make this season one to remember. Not every team have the luxury beating so many Premier League teams in one season but evidently it could be all for sweet FA.
Coyle and his staff have their work cut out to find a decent training regime to keep Burnley’s small squad fresh and be ready for the next vital games. The play-off picture looks a firm possibility and we will have to wait in anticipation to see whether the players' legs can hold the last few steps and extend their season to a few more games.