Guardian writers’ predicted position: 20th (NB: this is not necessarily Paul Wilson’s prediction, but the average of our writers’ tips)

Last season’s position: 2nd in the Championship

Odds to win the league (via Oddschecker): 10,000-1

Burnley are back in the Premier League for the second time in five years, though despite promotion having been earned automatically this time instead of via the play-offs, euphoria in East Lancashire is a little harder to find than it was in 2009.

Partly that is just hard-headed realism. Sean Dyche and his small group of tightly-focused players might have taken the Championship by surprise last season – one supporter put his level of disbelief at Burnley finishing second on a par with the amazement he later felt watching Brazil 1-7 Germany in the World Cup – but the Premier League is a much tougher nut to crack. Burnley know from last time round that even beating Manchester United is no guarantee of success and survival, and though Dyche has been busily adding to his squad so that the Clarets have more new signings than anyone else in the Premier League, the total cost is revealing. Burnley have spent around £3.5m on six new players – Michael Kightly, Marvin Sordell, Matt Gilks, Lukas Jutkiewicz, Matt Taylor and Steven Reid – and seen bids for West Brom’s Craig Dawson and Watford’s Troy Deeney turned down.

Burnley were not trying to get the last pair on the cheap – between £5m and £6m is believed to have been offered for Deeney, or around twice the Turf Moor transfer record – but Dyche is working to strict limitations to keep the books balanced and make sure the club lives within its means in the top league. That is another reason for caution in Lancashire; Burnley are clearly looking for bargains rather than outbidding their rivals. Leicester and Swansea are also interested in Deeney, but though Burnley were in for the striker first their bid was too low, with Watford thought to be hoping for around £10m. Dyche believes Watford arrived at that sum after seeing Ross McCormack join Fulham from Leeds United for £11m, an unexpectedly high price and one that may have skewed the market.

“That transfer caught everyone unawares and seems to have blown the market open.” Dyche said. “I suppose it shows that even teams coming out of the Premier League are still cash strong and willing to spend, but it is a different dynamic for us. We have been trimming, because we have to work to certain guidelines, but that doesn’t mean we have no money to spend. We do have some, the guidelines have been loosened a little, but it’s fair to say we won’t be signing some of the players that Liverpool and Manchester City are after. Last season were weren’t alone in the Championship in having little or no money, there were others in the same boat, so we were able to do well with the playing strength we had. The Premier League will be a different experience but we are trying to make sure it is a positive one. We obviously haven’t got the big super-club backer, so we can’t take on the biggest clubs financially, but we can still find players to fit into the club at the right price. We just have to be more flexible and careful.”

If flexible and careful does not quite have the ring of a rallying cry, Dyche himself has already proved both motivational and tactically astute when pitted against bigger clubs with larger budgets. Derby, Forest, Wigan and Reading were among the clubs more fancied for promotion than Burnley this time last year, especially after the Clarets’ leading scorer Charlie Austin joined promotion favourites QPR on the eve of the new season. “That left us with 18 players and no time to get anyone else in,” Dyche said. “But we still felt strong as a group and that’s what showed over the course of the season.”

Burnley could be in a similar situation all over again with Danny Ings, last season’s top scorer, being linked with his native Southampton as a replacement for Rickie Lambert, hence the pursuit of Deeney to strengthen striking options. Yet if the cost of a decent Championship striker is now around £10m, as Leicester’s capture of Leo Ulloa from Brighton seems to further suggest, Burnley have some big decisions to make. Their preferred budget is unlikely to stretch that far, and Dyche’s preferred model, of hand-picking players he either knows personally or believes can fit easily into the Burnley system, does not involve entering a bidding war against clubs with more money.

It will not be difficult to spot the differences in outlook when Burnley kick off their Premier League fixtures against Chelsea, with Manchester United also to visit Turf Moor before the end of August. With Chelsea spending almost £60m on an already strong team to bring in Diego Costa and Cesc Fábregas, the gulf in spending power could hardly be more marked. Chelsea will be among the favourites for the title this season, Burnley among the favourites, if not the clear favourites, to go straight back down. In 2009 promotion was a big adventure, this time it is tinged with realism. The Premier League will be a season-long struggle, it might not be pretty at times and there is absolutely no guarantee of a happy ending. Yet Burnley under Dyche will not submit meekly, they will be strong as a unit and competitive in most of their games. Turf Moor should be good for a few more surprises yet.

Whether anything this season will be as astonishing as the promotion run last season, not to mention Brazil 1-7 Germany, remains to be seen. Absolutely no one in East Lancashire is expecting to take the Premier League by storm, and Dyche is probably already concentrating on the mini-league of six or seven that will form at the lower end of the table with a view to not ending up in the bottom three. Finishing 17th would be a huge achievement for Burnley. The odds are against it, the financial playing field hardly level, but as long as Dyche is in charge his team has a chance.