Burnley shocked everybody last term when escaping out of the Championship and back into Premier League bliss by finishing second in the second tier, apart from maybe their well-regarded manager Sean Dyche.
They call him the Ginger Mourinho up Turf Moor way, and the former Cheltenham and Millwall man will have to show a touch of the Special One’s genius if his Clarets are to defy odds of 3/5 that they’ll go straight back down, with 6/5 saying otherwise.
Here are a few pointers from the last few campaigns Dyche might focus on.
Hull stayed up by four points last term, despite easing off ahead of their ultimately unsuccessful FA Cup final clash with Arsenal.
This was in stark contrast with their previous Premier League spells, as a they had to rely on Aston Villa beating Newcastle on the final day of the 2008/09 season before being relegated the following May.
Steve Bruce achieved survival by keeping games tight and eeking out wins, with nine of their ten coming without concession.
Furthermore, all four of their top-flight wins before December came by one-goal margins, with three of those by a goal to nil, which suggests Dyche needs to tread cautiously during his first few months as a Premier League coach.
Hull benefited from physical-yet-footballing types Tom Huddlestone, David Meyler and Jake Livermore in midfield, in front of a back three, so Burnley will need more quality.
Buy Premier League experience
Former Wolves man David Jones has been joined by Matt Taylor in midfield, while Steven Reid should have a season or two left in him.
Dyche’s squad has splashes of quality, with Kieran Trippier and Danny Ings likely to shine, but Burnley will obviously need more signings between now and deadline day.
The Tigers’ crack midfield, plus the additions in January of strikers Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic, are fine examples of experience paying off, while Crystal Palace had Marouane Chamakh, Barry Bannan, Jason Puncheon, Adrian Mariappa, Scott Dann and Danny Gabiddon in practically from the off last term.
Nicklas Bendtner’s could still be coaxed north Sean…
However, avoid the temptations of marquee signings
One need only look at QPR’s spectacular implosion during 2012/13, when they didn’t win a Premier League match until mid-December and never recovered.
Mark Hughes signed a roomful of stars, including Champions League winners Julio Cesar, Park Ji-Sung and Jose Bosingwa, who played like the strangers they were and cost the Welshman his job by November.
It’s fair to say Dyche hasn’t followed the Super Hoops’ example, with Marvin Sordell and Lukas Jutkiewicz about as far away from Galacticos as it gets.
If Burnley’s finances permit them to follow Sunderland’s example and go for a signing approaching Jack Rodwell’s stature – perhaps a loan move for Liverpool defender Martin Kelly, Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry, or other players of that ilk – then they should go for it.
A bit more proven quality may be the difference between elation and ignominy.