Whatever the baggage carried by Burnley supporters into Sunday’s dinner-time derby with Blackburn, I’m sure Sean Dyche will not encumber his players with it.
They’ll be hit by the verbal sparring as the teams enter the field, but I don’t doubt he will have them focused wholly on the task in hand.
Whatever Derby striker Chris Martin was last Saturday, it wasn’t focused, though it is arguable that his departure actually led to Steve McLaren’s team playing much better with their ten men.
No-one sat near me thought Martin would last the course after his early display, and so it proved.
There are plenty who on Sunday would like a “Kevin Ball moment” (still living long in the memory from the Stan Ternent era of 2000-2001) in which his, shall we say, robust challenge for a time disconnected Rovers talisman David Dunn’s legs from connection with the pitch.
I wouldn’t. Getting all het up like that will not serve Burnley’s cause this time, which is promotion. And being a player short would not be likely, unlike Derby whose early tactics were all wrong and ultimately cost them the game and a chance of leap-frogging the Clarets into second place, to help it.
This is one derby match where a clear focus on what they have to do to secure points should guide Burnley’s players. There is a long way to in the season yet and there are two difficult games to negotiate (hello Leeds on March 15).
Cool, clear heads on the pitch will help. We can be as worked up as we like off it.