Burnley's Stephen Ward ready for the battle to break Rafa Benitez's Newcastle United down
Stephen Ward believes Newcastle United to show Burnley respect in tonight's Turf Moor clash, with the defender expecting it to be another battle to break the Magpies down.
Home form was a cornerstone of the Clarets Premier League stability last term, but this time out it is their results away from home which has raised the most eyebrows - with more victories on their travels than at Turf Moor.
Republic of Ireland international Ward thinks Burnley's home results have not been as bad as many have painted out, although he believes that maybe more top flight clubs are showing his side the respect they deserve on their own patch.
And he hints that Rafa Benitez's Newcastle could be no different this evening.
Defending their home start to the season, Ward told the Burnley Express; "I still we’ve taken a few points at home. We’ve only lost once.
"Maybe last year we probably looked a bit more on the front foot at home but teams are now coming to Turf Moor and maybe showing us a little bit more respect.
"Teams come here and set up differently. That means we are having to break them down a little bit more. It’s something that we need to work out and maybe find different ways of winning games."
Speculation has been rife ahead of tonight's clash, which will be live on Sky Sports, that manager Sean Dyche could leave for Everton, who sacked Ronald Koeman after a difficult start to the season.
Burnley boss Dyche is 2/1 favourite for the post with many leading bookmakers.
And Ward admits it would be a massive blow if Dyche were to head to Merseyside, although he concedes links to 'bigger' clubs is no new thing.
"It’d be a blow, of course," he said ahead of this evening's encounter.
"It’s no surprise he’s being linked here, there and everywhere given the job he’s done here.
"We can’t think about that. It’s down to the club and the manager himself. If he stays it’ll be great for us.
"You’d have to ask him his own opinion. You’ve got players in the squad linked to moves all the time and you think you might lose a certain member of the squad.
"That’s football. Since I’ve been here the gaffer’s been linked with a job every couple of months.
"It’s nothing new. He’s obviously got ambition but we’re happy he’s here. Hopefully he will stay here for this season anyway."