Boyd next after Lowton deal?
After tying up a new deal for Matt Lowton, Sean Dyche admits George Boyd is one of a number of players the club are speaking to about their future.
Lowton, a Premier League ever-present this season, agreed terms on a two-year extension on Tuesday, taking him to the summer of 2020.
He joins a number of players signed up for the foreseeable future, including skipper Tom Heaton (2020), Ben Mee, Sam Vokes and Ashley Barnes (2019), as well as the relatively new faces signed over the last 15 months.
But Boyd is out of contract in the summer, along with Paul Robinson, Joey Barton - whose future remains up in the air as he awaits an FA commission into alleged betting offences - and Michael Kightly, who is seeing out his deal on loan at Burton Albion.
When asked about Boyd's situation, Dyche said: "There's ongoing conversations with varying people and that’s the nature of the business.
"He’s one of many we’ve been speaking to, to know what the script is and know they’re settled."
Contractual situations are looked at constantly, as Dyche explained: "It’s the shifting sands of football.
"Players move forward, it’s who continually fits, who goes out, who comes in?
"They're different things that have to be monitored and achieved.
"That’s why the year on year of building, with the points we’ve got the progression, is that although we won’t be judged on that it’s a good judgement for us in-house because that development is really important.
"Can you keep moving it forward and keep the players moving forward? I find good value in that.
"It’s monitoring that as you go and figuring out who stays for the longer term and who goes out."
Boyd has been a regular starter for Dyche in three seasons since arriving for a then record-equalling £3m from Hull City, and scored the winner against Stoke on Tuesday night.
And while Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Robbie Brady have arrived to add competition out wide, Boyd remains a fixture in the side: "I thought the other night he played really well, he gives you everything, his moment of quality for a goal and his tactical awareness.
"There’s a number of good stories here.
"I always speak about the players not in the team because they are as important as anything. Their mentality towards what the team needs is absolutely massive.
"I’m respectful as much, if not more, to the players who are not playing than the ones who are playing every minute of every game.
"It’s in-house demand and the idea of having a deeper squad is in-house demand. You’re looking over your shoulder thinking 'he’s decent', so you’ve got to keep pushing yourself.
"That’s another thing that has allowed us to progress here and push us forward."
While Boyd's situation has yet to be resolved, with him potentially able to leave on a free transfer in the summer,
Lowton had a year left on his existing contract, and has earned another two on top after impressing since arriving from Aston Villa two years ago.
Dyche feels he has found a level of consistency, and is loving his football at the moment: "He made an important comment when he said he’s enjoying his football, and I think you always want players to be in that mould and in that mindset.
"It’s serious enjoyment, you understand. It’s professional enjoyment.
"It’s not enjoyment in the same way that you’re a little kid running around the playground. That’s a different thing.
But that professional enjoyment. And I think he looks like a player who’s like that.
"He looks clear-minded, he looks freer, he’s got even fitter, and I think he’s referencing that, the enjoyment, his professional enjoyment, and I think that’s grown ever since he’s been here.
"He had a bit of a tough time of it at Villa, along with a number of others of course, and he seems like he’s slowly grown and moved forward again, and he does look like a player among a group at the minute.
"I think they’re very motivated, and you saw that the other night as a collective against Stoke, a very motivated side, I felt."
Lowton came in as Kieran Trippier left for Spurs, but while he has made the right back slot his own, Dyche feels Lowton should be judged on his own merits: "I think Tripps is too long ago to start referencing now. I think between Lowts and Tendayi (Darikwa) and the little touches of Flanno (Jon Flanagan) as well, there’s a little group there of full backs and I just think that Lowts’ form has earned him the right through the season to keep the shirt, and that’s an important factor.
"Any kind of pressure with players is to play, and there’s got to be that professional enjoyment in order to do that. I think that’s been one of the key things.
"He’s found that line between professionally doing the job and playing with that little bit of freedom and belief to find that enjoyment in it as well, because football’s a tough business.
"It’s tougher than people think to enjoy it, because there’s stress and pressure on each performance.
"It’s tough to find that little edge of open-minded focus if you like, a kind of zone thinking as athletes often say, when you’re just playing, and you find that kind of freedom in your performances, and he seems to have found a nice little run of that this season."