MIDFIELDER Jack Cork is expected back in training with Burnley tomorrow morning.
The 21-year-old has been undergoing tests back at parent club Chelsea since complaining of palpitations at half-time in last Monday’s England Under-21 international with Iceland at Deepdale.
The young Lion was taken off at the break, and spent a night in hospital as a precaution before returning down south, forcing him out of Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Ipswich Town.
It remains to be seen whether he is considered for Saturday’s trip to Leicester City, but boss Eddie Howe will be delighted to have him back.
Speaking this morning, he said: “Jack is having his final tests today at Chelsea, and we hope to have him back training with us tomorrow.
“They’re routine tests, but he has to go through the process and he will be fine. We don’t envisage any problems.
“He’s a fantastic pro, a good lad and a good player, and we missed him, but the most vital thing is getting him fit and healthy and back on the pitch as soon as possible.
“The stresses and strains the heart goes through in any sport are huge, and if you have any problems, you have to have them checked out, but he will be fine.”
In a further boost, midfielder Chris McCann came through an hour unscathed in the reserves’ 3-1 win against Morecambe on Tuesday night, building on his 37 minutes last Tuesday against Oldham.
He still needs 90 minutes before he will be considered for first-team selection, and he could get that on Monday at Turf Moor against Macclesfield Town Reserves.
Howe is impressed with his progress, and said: “Chris did very well on Tuesday and will improve with every game.
“He came through with no ill-effects, and stepped his playing time up to an hour.
“There are positive signs that he is getting closer to a first-team return.
“He has to get 90 minutes under his belt first, and have confidence in his fitness.
“When he comes back, he would have to be able to do himself and the team justice – we will only put him back in when the time is right.
“But we have been impressed, he is a naturally fit lad – he can certainly run. and it is a case of getting his game sharpness up to speed.
“I don’t think it will take long, the quality is still in there, it’s a case of getting that explosiveness back.”
Striker Steven Thompson is also stepping up his training after a groin injury, and he is close to a return.
Howe said: “Thommo has done a lot of fitness work in the last week. He’s missed a lot of football with his injury, but he is back ahead of schedule.
“Again, we’ve got to make sure when he gets back on to the pitch, he can perform to his best.
“But he’s working very hard and is knocking on the door.”
There is more good news with Martin Paterson slowly progressing, although it remains doubtful he will be available before the end of the season.
Howe said: “Pato has just entered light training, but if we get him back this season, it will be a bonus.
“The most important thing is to make sure he doesn’t break down again.
“We don’t want him to have another reoccurence of his injury. We’re easing him in.”
Meanwhile, Howe is eager to get back to winning ways at the Walkers Stadium, which has been a happy hunting ground for the Clarets.
Burnley have not conceded there in five visits, with four 1-0 wins and a goalless draw, and Howe looked forward to the game.
He said: “It’s a tough one, we seem to have mirrored each other’s results of late – we had a good run of form and are going through a dip.
“We’re both desperate for a win to kickstart us again.
“But there’s still plenty of time to get in the top six, one result could be the catalyst.
“We’re hoping that will happen at Leicester.
“We’ve not become a bad side overnight, confidence is a fragile thing in all sport, and we just need a result to get us going again.”
And he is looking forward to crossing swords with Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Eriksson was director of football at Notts County for most of last season, as both the Magpies and Howe’s Bournemouth were promoted from League 2.
Howe said: “He’s a fantastic manager and has managed some fantastic clubs, as well as the national side.
“It’s special to come up against someone like that, but I’m just thinking about winning the game.”