Sean Dyche will not relax even if Burnley beat Cardiff City today, with his side still precariously placed in the Premier League.
What had looked a potential shoot-out for 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.”
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.
Neil Warnock believes his side need 10 points from their remaining six games to “have any chance whatsoever” of ensuring Premier League survival.
After facing Burnley, Cardiff play Brighton, who are five points above them, next Tuesday in a crunch stage of their season.
“We are running out of time and points,” Warnock said. “We need 10 points, really, to have any chance whatsoever.”
Warnock has no doubt that his players are ready to fight for everything during a run-in that also includes clashes with Liverpool and Manchester United.
“I’ve never seen anything other than a fighting spirit,” he added.
“I saw the desolation after the Chelsea game [in which Cardiff suffered a controversial 2-1 defeat], where we all felt we could have had more points on board. You can’t take that away.
“The dressing room has not been like that this season, even when we have had poor results, but training has been good and they’ve really picked up. It’s been bubbly again.”
Phil Bardsley is a major doubt for Burnley’s Premier League clash with Cardiff at Turf Moor on Saturday after suffering a freak injury.
The right-back missed last weekend’s victory over Bournemouth after cutting his leg on a table tennis table – Matt Lowton impressed in his absence, so is set to keep his place.
Striker Peter Crouch may not play again this season after undergoing appendix surgery, while winger Aaron Lennon (knee) and midfielder Steven Defour (calf) also remain sidelined.
Harry Arter is a doubt with an ankle injury, but Jazz Richards is in contention following a hamstring problem.
Long-term absentees Callum Paterson (ankle), Sol Bamba (knee), Alex Smithies (knee), and Matthew Connolly (ankle) remain out.
Burnley haven’t lost a home game against Cardiff since May 1988 (1-2), winning six and drawing eight since then.
Cardiff haven’t lost consecutive matches against Burnley since the 1999-00 campaign in the third tier.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche has never lost against Neil Warnock, winning four of his five matches against the Cardiff boss (D1).
Burnley have won their last two Premier League games, each by a margin of two goals. The last time they won three in a row by 2+ goals in the top-flight was back in October 1968 (a run of four).
Cardiff have lost five of their last six Premier League games (W1), with a victory against West Ham the only exception in that run.
Burnley have lost just one of their last 14 Premier League games against sides starting the day in the relegation zone (W7 D6), though that loss was earlier this season – against Fulham.
Burnley’s Ashley Barnes has had a hand in four goals in three league starts against Cardiff (three goals, one assist), although his last goal against them came back in March 2012.
Cardiff’s Victor Camarasa has scored two goals in his last three Premier League games – as many as he’d netted in his previous 21 in the competition.
Ashley Barnes has scored 10 league goals for Burnley this season – only Danny Ings in 2014-15 (11) has netted more in a single Premier League campaign for the Clarets.
Cardiff’s nine away league goals this season have been netted by eight different players, with Sol Bamba the only Bluebird to score more than once on the road.