After achieving promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking, having suffered relegation in 2014/15, Burnley will be desperate to prolong their stay in the top flight this time around.
Having dropped out of the top flight in 2009/10 under manager Owen Coyle – just as so many famous old clubs, such as Nottingham Forest, Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday have in the past – Burnley were left toiling in the Championship for a four-year stretch.
Unlike in 2013/14, however, when Sean Dyche masterminded his first return to the Premier League as runners-up to Leicester City – how those two clubs' fortunes have differed in the intervening years – this time around the Clarets have arrived as Championship winners, although as coincidence would have it they posted 93-point totals on both occasions.
While unable to keep a hold on their Premier League place for more than a single season in the past, Burnley have certainly made their mark on the game's big names over those 76 matches – who can forget Robbie Blake's volley and Brian ‘the Beast’ Jensen's penalty save in a 1-0 win over Manchester United at the start of 2009/10? How about George Boyd‘s winner against Manchester City at Turf Moor in March 2015?
Well, while defiant Burnley boss, Dyche, is under no illusions that remaining in the division will be a massive challenge, the team's encouraging transfer business means they are much better equipped to achieve survival in their 2016/2017 crusade.
“What everyone would deem the impossible challenge for a club like us, we want to make it possible,” explained an optimistic Dyche at the start of the new campaign.
“It's obvious we're not leading the market with finance, [or] depth of squad, but what will become apparent, and it already has, is we are willing for the challenge and we'll give every inch of ourselves to achieve what we want.”
Breaking their transfer record twice during this summer's transfer window – firstly on Steven Defour (£8 million) and then on Jeff Hendrick (£10.5m) – signaled the Clarets' intentions of doing everything they can to achieve their goal.
In addition, they acquired the likes of Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Nick Pope, Jon Flanagan and Patrick Bamford (the last two on loan) to give the squad some vital additional depth. Keeping talented centre-back, Michael Keane – who Burnley reportedly turned down a bid of £15m from Leicester City for – was also a crucial piece of business.
Elsewhere in the squad, talent can be found everywhere: the likes of England international goalkeeper Tom Heaton, Matthew Lowton, Ben Mee, Ashley Barnes, Sam Vokes, Andre Gray and Boyd, all possess their own unique set of attributes that make them Premier League calibre operators.
Tenacious winger, Boyd, recently cited the fact that so many of Burnley's players were selected for international duty recently as a clear indicator of the club's ambition and upward trajectory. “The more internationals we’ve got the better we’re doing as a club so long may that continue,” he told the Burnley Express, adding that the Turf Moor club are better placed to beat the drop than in 2015.
“It’s great from the outside because people still see us as a small club and we’re spending big money. In the building it’s great to get that quality of player in and it can only improve us. Hopefully we can keep continuing to improve.
“You can see the quality of the squad and the strength in depth compared to last time. It is massive.”
Four points on the board already marks a reasonable return from their opening four games for Boyd and his team-mates, with a remarkable home win over Liverpool the undisputed highlight. It already appears, though, that their form at Turf Moor, and against their fellow smaller clubs, will be key deciding factors if they are to consolidate their place in the Premier League.
This is something Boyd also touched upon after his side's disheartening 3-0 loss to Chelsea prior to the international break, saying: “These won’t be the games that define our season. It will be games against Hull and teams in and around us that will see if we stay up or not.”
“They are the games we look at to get three points and obviously at home, we’ll look forward to that.”
Although Burnley came agonisingly close to securing all three points versus Hull City last Saturday (10 September), they were cruelly forced to settle for a point after a Robert Snodgrass 95th-minute equaliser.
The impressive form of new Belgian midfielder Defour – who gave his side the lead with a brilliant solo effort – was a huge positive to be drawn from the deflating result, though.
In the sort of season-defining fixtures Burnley must capitalise on, boss Dyche will be pleased and frustrated in differing measures that his side were able to do the hard work to get themselves into a winning position only to lose two points in stoppage time.
With a tough run of matches against Leicester City, Watford, Arsenal, Southampton, Everton and Manchester United up next, Burnley will be desperate to make amends for the Hull result and hope they aren't made to rue that late Snodgrass sickener.
However, you can rest assured that Dyche has instilled an incredible spirit and belief in his squad, and will be doing everything in his power to rally his troops in order to secure some valuable points in the coming weeks and months.
Survival won't be easy for Burnley, but under the committed leadership of their manager, in combination with their impressive signings and strength of character, they'll certainly be no pushovers this season. Their extraordinary fighting and collective spirit always sees to it.
After their disastrous 2014/2015 season that ended in relegation, it's great to see Burnley learning from their mistakes. Now, having given themselves an excellent chance of survival, only time will tell if they, in fact, can.