Absence of Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood would be a big blow - former Burnley captain

Former Clarets captain Frank Sinclair believes it will be a blg blow for Burmley if they have to resume the Premier League season without their twin strike threat.

Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 3:00 pm
Chris Wood

Sean Dyche will be without Ashley Barnes at Manchester City on Monday night, after complications following a double hernia operation before lockdown, and top-scorer Chris Wood is also a doubt with an Achilles problem.

However, Jay Rodriguez and Matej Vydra had shown good signs of developing an understanding up front in February, with the pair dovetailing nicely in the wins over Southampton and Bournemouth.

Dyche prefers to play with two strikers when possible, but could also revert to a five-man midfield, or play the likes of Jeff Hendrick off the front, and Sinclair said to http://www.gentingbet.com: "If Burnley lose Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood, it would leave a big impact as they are number one and number two strikers.

"It will only leave two other strikers in the form of Rodriguez and Vydra, who came into a little bit of form before the pandemic paused the season.

"He was playing really well and the stop start of the season probably would affect him more than anything because of the confidence that he had at the time scoring some good goals.

"But it's going to be a difficult one because, we know Sean Dyche and Burnley like to play with two strikers.

"And if you've got Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood out of the team., it leaves you quite bare."

However, Sinclair accepts that a trip to the Etihad Stadium is something of a free swing for clubs, with Manchester City losing only five home league games since the start of the 2016/17 season: "Playing Manchester City is a difficult game and it’s not the one that you wish for.

"I'm sure Sean Dyche would realise that. But then, you know, I think Sean Dyche is very realistic in how he doesn't go into games expecting to lose them, but there's realism in what he thinks he can get out of games.

"I don't expect him to be looking at the Manchester City game as one of these games that is in his list of games with a possibility of three points.

"I'd say they'll go into this game, try and get something out of it.

"They will try to win the game, but I don't think you'd be overly disappointed if they lost. I think it'd be more about the performance more than the result in that game against Man City."

Hendrick is out of contract at the end of June, with no update as of yet as to whether he will play on beyond that date.

The Republic of Ireland midfielder has been linked with Celtic, Newcastle and Serie A clubs AC Milan and Roma, and Sinclair is a fan: "Jeff Hendrick has been a great servant to Burnley.

"Hendrick sums up the type of player which Sean Dyche wants. He wants a midfield player that will work for the team and is technically very good.

"Sometimes, the workload that they cover sort of covers the actual technical ability of some of those players at Burnley.

"I've been fortunate enough to go into Burnley quite a few times and watch training, shadow the manager and get his ideas on these players.

"He certainly think that Hendrick is a terrific player so I don't think he particularly wants to lose him. Ultimately, it's down to the player and I'm sure you know there's been players that the manager will look at to replace Hendrick if and when he does go."

Sinclair has been invited to the Barnfield Training Centre a number of times to shadow the coaching staff, as he revealed in Express Sport https://www.burnleyexpress.net/sport/football/he-remembered-me-being-one-boys-back-bus-shouting-giving-people-stick-and-he-said-he-was-frightened-death-frank-sinclair-meeting-burnley-boss-sean-dyche-2864806And he remains a big admirer of the job Dyche has done at his old club: "Sean Dyche has been unbelievable.

"He's not only just going into a football club and rearranged the team and made them be able to compete at the top level in English football but I think he's restructured the whole mindset of the club from top to bottom.

"Who Sean Dyche describes as a Burnley player or potential Burnley player has to have certain attributes and a lot of it is the mentality of a player.

"It’s about how they carry themselves and the respect that they have in and around the football club.

"I think this is all mirrored by the personality of the manager. I've had certain conversations with him about what he looks for in a player and there's a lot of stuff that he goes into before signing a player - and he doesn't often get it very wrong.

"So when you look at what he's done from the time that I was at Burnley when they were mid table top 10 mid table to top 10 championship side to now being regularly in the Premier League and finishing in the top seven and top eight. I think it's been a fantastic job by the manager.

"Burnley are in the top 10 at the moment - the target would have been to try, as most football clubs have to, to improve each season and get that little bit better.

"Obviously with the standards of the Premier League it’s very difficult to do that when you haven't got the financial backing to get the best players in Europe. So I think, Burnley finishing the top eight is a remarkable season again, and Sean Dyche would be fairly satisfied with a top 10 finish again."