LEEDS UNITED’s competitive fires may not burning quite like those of today’s opponents Burnley, but head coach Steve Evans insists that he and his side have their own “internal pressures” to perform at Turf Moor.
Burnley – who have seen their Championship lead cut to a point having drawn their last two matches – are seeking to reacquaint themselves with that winning feeling at a critical juncture with Middlesbrough and Brighton breathing down their necks.
A game on paper against an inconsistent Leeds side marooned in mid-table may look a benign one, but that is tempered by the fact that games for aspiring sides in April bring their own pressures – although Evans believes that the visitors carry their own despite their current modest placing in 15th.
Evans, likely to welcome back Marco Silvestri in goal, said: “Burnley need to win the game, don’t they. But it is very evident we have our own internal pressures and have however many thousands of fans travelling; that’s Leeds United.
“So we have our own pressures to perform for ourselves and for them (fans) at this fantastic club we represent.
“Burnley suddenly do have pressure. They had that little gap that they deserved, but they have drawn two in the Championship and suddenly have four or five others screaming down their necks.”
Evans believes that the Clarets will be crowned second-tier champions this term, while understandably anxious to curtail their quest for 90 minutes this afternoon.
And he is adamant that the Lancashire club possess the division’s standout player in their ranks in Joey Barton, who have proved an integral force for Sean Dyche’s side this term and has answered his critics in the best way possible.
Evans said: “I think these are the champions in waiting and I think Sean (Dyche) has had the same starting XI out for week after week after week all bar the odd change.
“He’s got people out there like the boy (goalkeeper) Tom Heaton who is an exceptional player, the front two are exceptional and Joey Barton should get player of the year in the Championship, for me.
“I think he has just been simply stunning.
“But it’s a game we look forward to, it’s a game that around the country no one will give us a chance.
“If we play individually and collectively as well as we can play then it’s game on at Burnley.”