RF: A great home record, a well drilled, confident team and a promising manager - you all must be pretty happy at Turf Moor! How do you rate the season so far and are you confident of staying up?
NB: Yes, very happy. We have had exactly the kind of start we wanted to have. We always knew that it was going to be a tough step-up, and indeed the league is even harder than it was just a couple of years ago, but to have 20 points on the board already is hugely encouraging.
It feels to me like a 36-point kind of season. So five wins and a draw could be enough to see us survive. Whether we do or not depends heavily on us turning round our woeful away form. We have had to turn Turf Moor into a fortress in order to climb away from that relegation zone, but we won't win all the points we need to survive at home.
RF: Considering you were newly promoted, you didn't bring in a lot of new faces with Sean Dyche choosing to keep together the squad that got you promoted. It's certainly worked quite well, so I imagine most fans were fine with fewer new faces or would you have liked to have seen more coming in?
NB: This was not a surprise to us - Burnley are not known for being big spenders - but you do see this a lot with newly promoted sides. Managers keep faith in and reward the players who won the promotion in the first place.
Our fans desperately wanted to see us spend some money and build a squad that had a chance of survival. This is our third PL campaign in seven years and as a result we have no financial worries, have invested in the infrastructure of the ground and the training facilities and posted a healthy profit. It felt to us that there were no excuses this time and we had to spend some of that money on finally giving it a go.
The problem our board faces is that everyone has money and the player market (especially for English players) is massively inflated. We broke club records twice in one window and spent around £21m, but that was for just three first-team players (Defour, Hendrick and Gudmundsson) and one of those came from the Championship. All three have improved the team, but other clubs spent way more than that. The line between being competitive and bankrupt is a fine one.
We desperately need some width to that side, so I expect a couple more faces in January.
RF: I was quite jealous to see Steven Defour join you, how's he been since his arrival?
NB: Be jealous. Because he's amazing! All joking aside, he is an incredible talent and we haven't seen such flair and skill at Turf Moor in quite a while. He also signalled the move away from Dyche's beloved 4-4-2 and some of our best results this season have been in a 4-5-1 with Defour having the freedom to create.
He is very popular amongst the Turf Moor faithful, and that popularity has resulted in a few grumblings at his relegation to the bench. Defour is reportedly unhappy too, but we understand that Dyche isn't yet convinced that he has the fitness levels needed for Premier League football. I hope they make friends soon as I want to watch him play!
RF: What do you think of Joey Barton's potential return to Burnley?
NB: Genuinely delighted. His colourful career and personality have both been well documented but he had an impeccable season with us last year and was our player of the season. Not just on the pitch either; his leadership style and his determination to win definitely contributed to us winning the Championship.
I believe this deal is now on hold pending the outcome of the FA charges against him, but if he's only likely to face a ban of a couple of games then I expect the deal will happen.
RF: Onto the game, who should Sunderland fans be particularly worried about in the Burnley ranks?
NB: This side is one that works together, so there is probably not one stand-out player who you will need to concentrate on. As you may have seen from the Boro game on Boxing Day, we play very direct and love a good bit of route one; Heaton goal kick... Vokes header... Gray goal. Watch out Gudmundsson if he passes a fitness test as a lot of our chances are created by him.
RF: And who has got you edge in the Sunderland team?
NB: Defensively, Burnley are very solid and so your strikers will have to work hard to get past England keeper Tom Heaton and future England centre-half, Michael Keane. Saying that, Defoe has been a threat his entire career and his signing definitely kept you up last year.
RF: How do you think Dyche will line the team up and approach the game?
NB: This is a tough one. He has started as a 4-4-2 with Gray and Barnes up front for the last two games and it has worked very well.
However, Jeff Hendrick is suspended and Dean Marney is sweating on a late fitness test after a knock against Boro.
The key dilemma is Defour. For some reason, Dyche does not seem to fancy him in a two man midfield. Assuming that Marney makes it, then I expect to see a 4-4-2 with Marney and Arfield in the middle and Gudmundsson on the wing.
I would personally replace Arfield with Defour, but I have neither ginger hair, a gravelly voice or Dyche's tactical genius. So what do I know...
RF: Can we have a prediction as well?
NB: Burnley 3-0 Sunderland.