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Burnley are off to Aston Villa tonight and their manager Dean Smith confirmed that there will be a minute’s applause ahead of the game following the passing of their former manager Gerard Houllier.

“I’ve never crossed paths with him myself, so I never met him, but there’s certainly a lot of heartbroken people at Aston Villa Football Club who spoke very highly of Gerard when he was working here.

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“There’s certain a sombre mood at the training ground at the moment. It’s a disappointment that the fans won’t be able o go and give Gerard the send off that he deserves but I’m sure they’ll all be doing that at their homes. We’ll certainly be wearing black armbands and there’s a minute’s applause scheduled for the game.”

Speaking about Burnley, he said: “They’ve obviously not had the start to the season that Sean would have wanted for them, but you just look at their last four of five performances, bar the Manchester City one, they’ve been performing well and very difficult to play against, very difficult to score against and got a deserved win in the end at Arsenal.”

Much has been said about the lack of goals so far from us with Chris Wood, with two, the only striker to have got off the mark this season in the Premier League. Sean Dyche said: ““Our forwards are very close to finding those breakthroughs and when they do they will start to score again.

““In the meantime, we are defending with an edge as a collective and that’s important. We continue to find the balance, which is to defend well and create that better quality of chance. As long as we keep the back door shut, I’m sure the strikers will start to take those chances.”

He added: “Clean sheets have played a big part in our successes here down the years, whether that is getting promoted from the Championship, or in the Premier League. I’ve been mentioning for the last five or six games now that we are getting back to what we can be about again. There is still some more to go, but coinciding with the injury list lightening, the performances have increased and we are finding a better balance, which enhances our chances of getting results.

“We know it will be a tough game at Villa, who are generally having a good season, but we have never lacked confidence.   It just enhances it when you are winning games. Two wins, two draws and a defeat from the last five  games is a fair reflection of the way we have been performing.

“That’s no easy task in the Premier League, but I think we are finding our form and we have shown, over many seasons now, that we can go and compete in this league. We have to turn up and deliver and we have been doing that. Thursday is just another chance to do that.”

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