By Tony Leighton
Burnley strike partners Danny Ings and Sam Vokes have been continually hitting the headlines, understandably so with 40 goals between them to date this season as the Clarets strive for promotion to the Premier League.
But manager Sean Dyche's team have been as mean at the back as they have been prolific up front, so there are unsung heroes at Turf Moor in the defenders who have conceded just 24 goals in 30 Sky Bet Championship outings.
The players in defence do not, however, begrudge the strikers their glory, as ever-present full-back Kieran Trippier told football-league.co.uk ahead of the second in the table team's visit to Bournemouth on Saturday.
"What Danny and Sam have done this season is unbelievable and they deserve the plaudits," said former Manchester City trainee Trippier, who deserves plaudits himself as Burnley's top goal provider with 12 assists to date.
"It's part of my job to get into wide areas and send in crosses for the lads up front," he added," and it's a great feeling when one of your crosses ends up in the net. But it's just as good to help keep goals out at our end of the pitch."
Trippier will be aiming to keep the goals out at Bournemouth, whose manager Eddie Howe was in charge at Burnley when the Clarets signed him from Manchester City, first on loan and then in a permanent deal in January 2012.
"When Eddie and [assistant manager] Jason Tindall took me on loan," said 23-year-old Tripper, "they showed a lot of trust and faith in me, and looking back I feel that I made a good decision in signing for Burnley on a permanent basis.
"I was a bit gutted when Eddie and Jason left the club, but Sean Dyche has come in and done brilliantly from day one. He saw that we were conceding too many goals and that was one of the first things he worked on with us.
"He only came to the club last season, so last summer was his first pre-season with us and the work we did on our defensive play has paid off with the back five as a collective doing really well throughout the campaign so far."
It's so far, so good for the Clarets as they look for a return to the top flight four seasons after being relegated. And as the campaign enters its final third they are well placed to clinch one of the two automatic promotion spots.
They are three points ahead of third in the table Queens Park Rangers and, though they have played a game more than the Hoops, they also have the best goal difference in the Championship apart from leaders Leicester City.
"QPR don't play until Sunday this weekend," noted Trippier, "so if we can win at Bournemouth that will put pressure on them. They've got a tough match against Reading, but it's also going to be tough for us at Bournemouth.
"They got a 1-1 draw at our place earlier in the season, but we should have won that match. Hopefully this time we can take the three points and then go on putting as many points as possible on the board to keep us in the top two."
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