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Burnley manager lavishes praise on Barton; labels him excellent

Joey Barton's deflected free-kick sent Burnley back to the Championship summit last night.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche has hailed Joey Barton's influence on his side, telling Sky Sports the veteran midfielder has been excellent.

Burnley went back to the top of the Championship table with a 1-0 victory over Preston North End last night, and Dyche lavished praise on his midfield star:

"He was excellent and he's been excellent all round. He's still delivering and has a real thirst to be successful and he continues to be that in among a group that's got that."

The 33-year-old veteran has been crucial to the Claret's promotion push this season. He has played in 36 league games, chipping in with three goals and two assists, but his influence on the squad as a whole is what has pleased the Burnley boss the most:

"He's been a good example of the whole group."

Even Preston manager Simon Grayson chimed in with praise for the former Manchester City and Newcastle star:

"He manages his game, both with the ball and without it. He shows his experience and our players are a young group, they've got to learn and will learn."

Burnley now hold a one point advantage over second placed Middlesbrough who play today at home to Ipswich. On paper, the Clarets have the easier run in with a home game against Queens Park Rangers proceeding their final fixture - a trip to Charlton Athletic.

With Middlesbrough hosting third placed Brighton & Hove Albion on the last day of the season, the Lancashire outfit will feel quietly confident of gaining promotion to the Premier League.

Dyche finished off by saying how pleased he was with his side's performance as a whole:

"It's how I want the team to play - that's almost an advert for it. I used the word clarity a lot and I thought that was on show. We talk about automaticity and that's the ability to do it properly all the time."

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