NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Are Ely City the Burnley of the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division?

Ely City manager Brady Stone has been compared to Burnley's Sean Dyche in recent days - and not just

Ely City manager Brady Stone has been compared to Burnley's Sean Dyche in recent days - and not just because of his hair. - Credit: Archant

Brady Stone has laughed off claims that Ely City are the Thurlow Nunn equivalent of Premier League surprise package Burnley.

The Robins have been compared to the Clarets in recent days after they leapt into the top four of the Premier Division after a 3-2 win at Hadleigh United on Saturday.

And it’s easy to see why Ely have been likened to Sean Dyche’s men. Both sides have relatively low budgets, both sides have turned in backs-to-the-wall displays to grab all three points on more than one occasion and both side’s managers sport a crop of fiery red hair.

But Stone, who watched the Robins record their seventh straight win on Saturday, says that is no surprise that his side are in contention for a top-five finish.

“The only thing I’d like is Sean Dyche’s wage!” he said.

“I see why people are comparing us but things like this happen in football. Leicester won the league a few seasons ago so we all know surprises can happen.

“We just need to keep doing what we’re doing and then we’ll have every chance of finishing in the top five.”

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Stone also believes that his men have enough quality to beat their record-breaking winning run that helped the Robins gain promotion two years ago. Ely’s run of 14 consecutive wins guided them to a second place finish in the Thurlow Nunn First Division in 2014/15.

“It would be wonderful to beat the record and there’s no reason why we can’t do it,” he said.

“I’ve told the players that I think we can do it. It will be a much bigger challenge because we’re a league above now but if we can keep playing like we have been then it’s definitely achievable.”

The Robins can claim win number eight this weekend, but face a tricky trip to FC Clacton (3pm).

The Essex side have struggled for form this term and have conceded 10 goals in their last two games but beat Ely 4-2 when the sides last met in December of last year.

“Clacton is always a tough place to go. They gave us a real hammering last season and it was one of our worst performances so we’ll have to be careful,” Stone said.

“But we’re full of confidence at the moment and we’ve got a squad of players all champing at the bit to play so hopefully we can do the job and bring three points back to Ely.”