Burnley keeping their fingers crossed over Jay Rodriguez

Jay Rodriguez keeps the ball under control.
Jay Rodriguez keeps the ball under control.

BURNLEY hope rest is the cure as they wrap top-scorer Jay Rodriguez up in cotton wool ahead of Sunday’s game at Cardiff City.

The 21-goal hitman was withdrawn at half-time in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace at Turf Moor, after his early penalty put the Clarets in front.

However, a groin problem which had restricted his time on the training ground during the week continued to trouble the 22-year-old, and he was taken off as a precaution.

Burnley have scored in eight of their last 11 games in league and cup - and Rodriguez’s importance to the side is summed up in that he has scored in all eight of those matches, becoming the first Claret in eight years to pass 20 goals in a season.

He has three in three at present after his spot kick against the Eagles, and assistant boss Jason Tindall hopes to be able to call on his services at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Tindall - taking the side after boss Eddie Howe’s mother Annie sadly passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning - said: “It’s a case of rest and obviously treatment.

“We’re pretty sure that with a week’s recovery he should be okay for the next game.

“That’s the plan.

“Hopefully it won’t be as serious as what it could be, and hopefully we’ll have him back fit for Cardiff.”

It was a close call for Rodriguez ahead of the Palace game, having carried the injury through the week, and Tindall explained: “It’s a problem within the area of his groin and his glutes (gluteus maximus) and it had been troubling him all week really.

“He only joined in training (on Friday).

“He’d been with the physios pretty much all week and struggled a little bit in the warm-up.

“He was struggling at half-time so it was a case of do you risk putting him back out and risk him being out for the rest of the season?

“He managed to play the first half and played incredibly well, but at half-time we followed the advice of the medical team that to continue would risk doing him more harm. Jay had to come off and it was a big blow to us, because, as we’ve seen this season, he can create something out of nothing for us.”

Rodriguez had started off frontman Martin Paterson in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Danny Ings making his full debut on the left of the three, and Ross Wallace on the right.

It was Paterson’s first start for two months, since he pickked up a hamstring injury in the win at Middlesbrough, and with the former Scunthorpe striker, Ings and Junior Stanislas available again after injury, Tindall feels - along with Charlie Austin and Zavon Hines - there is enough strength in depth in the attacking areas: “We’ve got a lot of attacking options.

“But Jay’s got 21 goals this season, and I think if you take a player of his quality out of the side you are going to miss him.

“We’re just hoping that he’s fit for Sunday.”