From the moment Burnley secured promotion to the Premier League critics were writing them off.
They have been relegation fodder since a ball was kicked in anger, with a hasty return to the Championship tipped by many.
The Clarets are made of stern stuff, though, and have responded positively to a shaky start among English football’s elite.
Success under Sean Dyche has been achieved with everyone pulling in the same direction, with collective effort required to deliver positive results.
That remains the case, with a frustrating winter transfer window failing to bolster the ranks at Turf Moor.
Dyche has full faith in those at his disposal, though, and will be delighted to see key men giving their all in the pursuit of top-flight consolidation.
|Player||Effective Head Clearance||Effective Clearance||Outfielder Block||Appearances||Mins Played|
|Premier League||Jason Shackell||170||248||29||23||1,997|
|Premier League||Curtis Davies||142||209||18||21||1,798|
|Premier League||Steven Caulker||139||200||21||21||1,845|
|Premier League||Wes Morgan||134||183||30||22||1,953|
|Premier League||Ashley Williams||133||257||28||23||2,070|
|Premier League||Winston Reid||125||198||21||22||1,865|
|Premier League||Phil Jagielka||119||204||20||22||1,935|
|Premier League||Martin Skrtel||118||209||23||20||1,800|
|Premier League||Richard Dunne||103||162||21||16||1,338|
|Premier League||Ryan Shawcross||100||161||21||22||1,932|
Jason Shackell was always going to be a busy man for Burnley this season, with a step up in class pitching Burnley into direct competition with world-class opposition.
Danny Ings may have been the man stealing the headlines with his goal-scoring exploits, but those at the back are doing their bit as well.
Clean sheets have been thin on the ground, but that has not been for the want of trying.
Shackell has made more headed clearances than any other player in the division, while only Swansea City’s Ashley Williams has made more effective clearances overall and Leicester City’s Wes Morgan more blocks.
Burnley will need more of the same from their skipper on Sunday, with West Bromwich Albion – a side sat just two points above them in the table – due to pay a visit to Lancashire.