Stephen Ward believes the Clarets need to match Sunderland’s ‘must-win’ mentality in a bid to get the three points themselves at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
Sunderland are currently bottom of the Premier League – six points below the drop line – after just one win since mid-December.
That run includes a 4-1 Premier League beating at Turf Moor on New Year’s Eve and an FA Cup, third-round replay exit to the Clarets following a goalless draw on Wearside.
David Moyes’ side will therefore be desperate to turn the table and boost their survival hopes by extending the Clarets’ winless away record.
But Ward is confident a repeat of the effort Burnley put in before losing 2-1 at Liverpool last Sunday will give Sean Dyche’s side every chance of enhancing their own position seven points clear of the bottom three.
Republic of Ireland international Ward – who had a trial spell at Sunderland before breaking into English football with Wolves in 2007 – said: “They will be well up for the game and have probably earmarked this one as a game they need to win to give themselves a good chance.
“We need to go with that mentality as well. We performed very well up there in the FA Cup game and I feel if we an go with the same attitude, mentality and performance level we had at Anfield last Sunday, we will give ourselves a really good chance of picking up something from the game.
“We have 10 big games left. We will take every game one at a time but you want to get that next win as soon as possible.
“We have lost a couple on the bounce now and had a couple of draws, so we need to get back to winning ways as soon as possible and hopefully we can do that this Saturday.”
How Burnley have acquired just two points away from home this season remains something of a mystery, given the level of most of their recent performances on the road.
During a testing run from late December, the Clarets have lost by a single goal to four of the Premier League’s top five clubs – namely Tottenham, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool.
The Clarets led at Anfield and deserved some reward from a game Liverpool won 2-1 by scoring from two of the three efforts they had on target.
“That’s probably been the story of our away form recently. Performances have really improved. We look a lot like the team away from home that we are at home,” added Ward.
“Unfortunately little things just haven’t gone our way and we’ve been very unfortunate not to pick up the win that’s eluded us all season.
“We feel if we keep working hard and putting the performances like we did on Sunday, then that away win won’t be too far away.
Andre Gray scored a hat-trick as the Clarets beat Sunderland in the Premier League
“There’s a lot of talk from outside about our away form and we know ourselves it’s not good enough not to have picked up a win so far.
“But we don’t approach any game differently. I think our mentality has been really good over the last couple of weeks, so we just look ahead to the next one and approach it in the same way.
“If we can put on a similar performance as we have done in the last few away games then we will give ourselves a chance of taking that win, finally.”