Can Burnley avoid relegation?

A new Premier League season looms and the proceeding summer is always especially exciting for the three newly promoted sides. Burnley are set to enter back into the English top flight having spent 4 years away from the league, but can they expect to stay for more than one season?

In the Championship last year they were comfortably promoted in the second automatic spot. Although they were not able to overturn an eventual 9 point gap between them and Leicester City, the Clarets never looked to be in particular danger of dropping down into the play-offs either. Scoring 72 goals, the strike-force proved very effective, but they will have to work extra hard to break through defences next year.

The likes of Sam Vokes and Danny Ings have proven their worth in the English second tier, and a lot of Burnley’s chance for success will rest upon their ability to perform at the higher level. Sean Dyche will hope that his side will continue to play an entertaining brand of football, because that could be their best bet for staying up.

The club haven’t spent too much money in the transfer window so far, but they have recruited a good number of new faces. The Burnley squad will be one of the smallest in the league regardless, but Dyche is hoping that his limited resources will prove to be enough.

The signing of Michael Kightley on a permanent deal from Stoke City will no doubt please the Turfmoor supporters. The midfielder proved to be a crucial component to their squad and their success last season. Although he is not a new face within their ranks, his signing does serve as a positive statement of intent.

In other areas, Burnley have added the experienced heads of Steven Reid and Matthew Taylor into their dressing room. Neither player will conduct a massive wage bill, but they will supply a valuable level of Premier League know-how.

As a former Portsmouth, Bolton and West Ham player, Taylor knows what it’s like to be involved in a Premier League relegation scrap. The same can be said for Reid, who has turned out for Blackburn Rovers, West Ham and West Brom before now. Maintaining reasonable ambitions, Burnley will expect to be involved in and around the relegation drop zone for periods of next year, and they have recruited appropriately.

The squad is still lacking in a little bit of proven Premier League quality, however. Whilst some of last season’s stars are sure to step up to the plate this season, it is likely that others will struggle to adapt to the higher level. If Burnley are to stake a serious claim for safety then they will need to invest a little more funds into a little more of their squad.

A stand-out attacker should be their top priority, despite the strikers that they already have at their disposal. It might also be a good idea to install a higher-profile, commanding presence into the team. Dyche has done an excellent job to keep the Burnley players’ feet on the ground until now, and he has shied away from buying big names as well. However, should the club pull off a coup to the tune of Leicester’s potential deal to sign Esteban Cambiasso, then they could look a different prospect.

That being said, there is no use in relying upon one man, or two, or three. Dyche will be working desperately to install within his group a solid team spirit. Although it will not ensure safety on its own, if Burnley can take the inevitable rough with the smooth next year then they have an opportunity to prove a lot of people wrong. Of the three newly promoted sides, Burnley are least expected to do well… That doesn’t mean that they can’t beat the drop though, as long as injuries evade them, and good fortune finds them with frequency.

Will Burnley be relegated? It is likely, but should they go down, then they will do so fighting.

Updated: August 15, 2014 — 7:45 pm
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