Burnley boss Sean Dyche buoyed as trio come through bounce game ahead of trip to Aston Villa

Sean Dyche received good news on the injury front on Monday as a key trio came through an Under 23 game at Barnfield.

By Chris Boden
Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 12:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 12:36 pm
Dale Stephens
Dale Stephens

Jack Cork, Dale Stephens and Phil Bardsley are closing in on a first team return, although it remains to be seen if the trip to Aston Villa on Thursday evening comes too quickly for them.

Steve Stone’s Under 23s beat Reading 3-1 with Anthony Gomez Mancini - who travelled with the squad to Arsenal - getting his first goal, before a brace from Joel Mumbongo.

Cork played the first half, with Stephens getting 75 minutes and Bardsley the full 90, and Dyche said: “Corky continued his recovery on Monday, so that’s good, he got a bounce game for 45 minutes, and Dale Stephens got about 70 minutes.

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“Bardo played really just to top up, because he’s been out a number of weeks and missed quite a bit of football.

“Johann (Berg Gudmundsson) didn’t play, we’re still getting him back to where he’s free to just run normally, compete normally...he’s still been just below his maximum, so we’re still being a bit careful with him.

“But there are four very good players, even with the squad looking stronger.

“We’ve still got them to come back into the thinking.”

That bodes well, with Burnley’s improvement correlating with the return of a number of important figures: “The players that have come through injuries are getting that real match fitness, Ben Mee, Robbie Brady, Matt Lowton...that true level of fitness.

“These are important factors.

“The Premier League is hard to guarantee results, but it gives you a better chance of getting results when you have everyone fit and well.”