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West Ham United-Burnley Preview

(Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images)

The first two months of the Premier League season have seen Burnley emerge as the division's surprise package.

The Clarets will look to continue their fine start to the campaign when they welcome West Ham United to Turf Moor on Saturday.

Sean Dyche's Burnley (3-3-1) established themselves in the English top-flight last season thanks to a phenomenal home record - their 10 wins at Turf Moor were a record bettered only by six teams. However, Dyche's side struggled badly on the road, picking up just a solitary win from 19 away matches.

The evidence of eight points from four away matches this term would suggest that Dyche has solved that problem, and Burnley's start to this season has been so impressive that they return from the international break way up in sixth place in table.

Armed with a resolute defence and an increasingly fluid attack, Burnley look every inch an established Premier League side, but Dyche admits that even he didn't see such a strong start coming.

"I think it'd be unrealistic for me to say that I knew this would happen, because I didn't," he said. "I think it's a very tough division and everybody knows that.

"It's a very good start and it's a very solid start. A lot was made of our away form last season and hopefully that's gone. We've been good at home too. Points are points wherever they come from."

That's a message that manager Slaven Bilic will be drumming in to West Ham (2-1-4) as they prepare for Saturday's match. The Hammers have been handicapped by a woeful away record of just a single point from four games since their August opener.

That sounds like cause for concern, but - after a desperately poor August - West Ham improved markedly in September. Their most recent road trip saw Bilic's side record their first point of the season away from home, while a 3-2 loss to Tottenham Hotspur is the only setback in four.

And Bilic believes the addition of formational flexibility holds the key to his team's upturn in fortunes.

"We never stopped working hard, even in the pre-season or in the training sessions before and during those three games which we lost," Bilic told the official West Ham website on Thursday.

"You can't say we didn't work hard, but it clicked a bit and we also changed the system - although to be fair the players were used to that kind of system, because in the last couple of years we were using both systems, with three at the back and four at the back."

West Ham have fitness concerns over James Collins, Pedro Obiang and Edimilson Fernandes going into the weekend, while hosts Burnley remain without injured Jonathan Walters and Tom Heaton.

The Hammers won both meetings between these sides last season and recorded a similar double-header over Burnley in their previous top-flight stint back in 2014-15.

Updated October 12, 2017

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