Burnley boss Sean Dyche determined to move squad forwards with new faces
Back in training a week, only a month since the finish of the 2019/20 campaign, Burnley are set to open their pre-season games schedule on Saturday behind closed doors, having only added goalkeeper Will Norris to the group so far.
The Clarets will play games at their Barnfield Training Centre, and other venues, as they step up their preparations for a season that will start with a Carabao Cup second round tie in the week beginning Monday, September 7th.
A full pre-season scheduled has not yet been released, but is likely to include a game on Tuesday, September 1st, and Saturday, September 5th.
Dyche’s side have a delayed start to the Premier League season, opening at Leicester City on Saturday, September 19th, after their clash with Manchester United was postponed due to the Reds’ involvement in the latter stages of the Europa League.
And having lost Jeff Hendrick, Aaron Lennon and Joe Hart, Dyche is eager to build up the squad again, while he monitors a couple of injuries as well.
“Historically we don’t sign a lot of players early, because that costs a lot of money.
“We’re trying to work in the market the best we can, we’re still not sure of the finance available in finite detail, but we are looking. We are searching. We want to support the group.
“I think this group is a really good group and I think it’s been proven – 10th-place finish last season.
“Now, it’s can we bring people in to challenge that group and bring people in to move it forwards?
“That’s the next challenge, and usually that takes finance.”
Dyche is refreshed after a short break, along with the players, and while it has been an unusually short off-season, he and his players will be ready for the start of the season: “I managed to get away, and that was good, not having to quarantine, which is helpful of course, and the players have been respectful of that.
“It’s the yin and yang of it, good in the sense they come back at a good level – our lads generally are, but it obviously wasn’t so long ago that they were playing, and a lot of games of course.
“Probably the only question mark is that rest period, because we all know lockdown was a strange rest period, they weren’t out relaxing with the family poolside, enjoying life, they were working as well.
“We got the rewards for their work, so we’re hoping they’ve had enough rest, building up now, getting stronger ready for the season.”
Dyche would have liked to have taken the group away as he traditionally does, but decided against it in the current climate: “It’s a different ball game now with this facility, they’re coming back into a very good facility, fantastic surfaces. We would have liked to have gone away, but the quarantine issues and complexities of it...in the end we chose not to.
“We’ll nick a few days off to break things up and give them downtime in between, so we’re trying to find that healthy balance again.”
And while Burnley ended the season with a second top-10 finish in three seasons, Dyche knows the slate is wiped clean: “The lads deserve a massive amount of credit. I thought we were magnificent. But it’s parked – gone. It doesn’t owe you the next one, so we’ve got to make sure we’re clear-minded ready to go again.
“It is a re-start every season. We don’t take it for granted, everyone knows that. And the fans play a part in that. They don’t take it for granted. They have supported us through thick and thin. I think they realise it’s a big challenge every year.
“They’ve seen bigger clubs on paper – and we fancy ourselves as a decent-sized club – really suffer in the Premier League. There’s a bit of clarity to their thinking and that’s important.”