BURNLEY striker Ashley Barnes is determined to “get one over” his former boss, Gus Poyet, when the Clarets visit Sunderland on Saturday.
Barnes enjoyed his time working under Poyet at Brighton, hitting 43 goals in 139 appearances for the Uruguayan, but he will put his appreciation of Poyet to one side for the 90 minutes at the Stadium of Light.
Burnley visit Wearside in fourth-bottom spot, level on points with Sunderland, who are one place better off.
“It was fantastic,” said Barnes, asked to recall his time with Poyet on the south coast.
“I loved every minute there. I came away from there with a new challenge and I’m doing alright here.
“He’s all about passing, keeping possession and we’re going to need to be at our game and defend for 90 minutes and score at the other end. We’ll go there and try and do that.
“Of course I don’t want them to win, I want to get one over on them.
“We’ll be friends before the game, after the game, but as soon as that whistle goes it’s concentrating on your job and that’s all you can do.
“As soon as you cross that white line you’re enemies.”
The Clarets went down to Crystal Palace at Turf Moor 12 days ago, in their most recent match, after storming into an early two-goal lead.
But Barnes says the Lancashire side can make amends for that setback, saying: “We’ve definitely got the character to recover. You’ve seen it. We’ve lost before and we’ve bounced back against good teams and we’ll do that again.
“It’s a fighting zone down the bottom and we knew we were in for a fight.”
Burnley and Sunderland could not be split in a goalless draw at Turf Moor back in September, and victory for either side this weekend would be huge in the fight to beat the drop.
Barnes, who has hit four goals this term, told the Burnley Express: “Every game is massive in this league, like we’ve said all the time.
“We’ll go there looking for the three points and nothing else.
“They’ve got some great players there and I’m quite familiar with the way Gus plays from when I was with him at Brighton.
“It will be a tough game, but hopefully we will go there and get the three points.
“We’re 100 per cent confident of doing that. I believe in myself, my ability and my team-mates so we can go there and get the three points.”