Brady and Defour doubtful for Hammers clash

Burnley will again be without Robbie Brady and Steven Defour against West Ham at Turf Moor on Sunday.

Friday, 28th December 2018, 1:12 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 2:50 am
Robbie Brady

Brady has missed the last two games, while Defour has sat out the last five, and neither are expected to be involved against the Hammers.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson is in contention to start, having come off the bench against Everton.

Sean Dyche said: “Johann came on and had no adverse reaction.

“Steven I doubt will make it for the weekend, and I doubt Robbie will.

“They’re getting closer, but I think the game on Sunday might come too soon.”

Dyche has changed the system and personnel to try and get results, and he insists no player is a guaranteed pick - including the only ever-presents Joe Hart and Ben Mee: “It’s never in doubt that we look at every player on the pitch.

“There’s very few players this season who have laid down such a strong marker were they’re almost written on the teamsheet every week before it’s even considered.

“Last season I thought we had a lot of that.

“That’s the complexities.

“When the team’s up and down, results are up and down.

“It’s certainly not about one position, it’s about all positions.”

Dyche will have to decide whether to persevere with the back three he has used in the last three games, and, talking about trying to find the right blend, he said: “We’ve had to do that more so this season. We started early season due to the Europa League.

“That is probably more fresh and more new for us to do that but I felt it was necessary because of the games programme so early.

“That does take some adapting to.

“Now it’s a different kind of shuffling, we’re shuffling to try and get that mixture, that blend, that can be successful.

“I think that’s an ongoing thing until people settle into the slots, they find a way that is the way the team works to be effective.

“We got close to having the full squad available and every time we get there we’ve had injuries, and I don’t think that’s helpful.

“It’s not an excuse I just don’t think it’s helpful because some of the changes we’ve had to make rather than we’ve made them because we think it’s important.

“That can be difficult. We’ve had situations where we’ve had no wide men available, we’ve had situations where centre-halves have been down with hernias – at one point two centre-halves.

“There’s been a lot of challenges. Our job is still to navigate our way through that and still find wins.

“We’ve attempted to do that but we know the second half of the season is quite obviously very, very important.”

Dyche often speaks about reality, and the reality is currently that Burnley are mired in a relegation scrap: “There’s a fact to everything. I think it was after six games that we were bottom.

“There’s been a slight shift, but the shift hasn’t been far enough.

“We know there’s a lot of work to be done.

“Last season, we weren’t over-thinking things when we were up there, saying: ‘Let’s try to finish second.’ We were realistic where we were.

“And we’re realistic this season at the moment. We’re at the halfway stage, and we’re not where we wanted to be. I don’t think we’re miles away.

“Even on performances this season, a couple have got away from us that shouldn’t have done. And there are a couple we probably should have got something from, and we didn’t.

“But even then, it only accounts for probably four or five points.

“Those four or five points would be welcome. We’ve got to shift details, we’ve got to shift the performance levels, although I think they’ve been generally better lately.

“We’ve got to stay strong, really, to our beliefs. We’ve got to keep delivering on that. That’s another key thing, to remind ourselves of the realities, but also remind ourselves of the positive side of what we can do and how we can do it.

“When we play how we play and we do make it awkward for teams, while being a threat, then we’ve shown we can get results. That’s important to remember.”