Burnley boss Sean Dyche hails midfielder Jack Cork ahead of his return to Chelsea

Sean Dyche admitted he "enjoyed" Jack Cork's performance as the midfielder helped inspire a second half comeback against Aston Villa.

Jack Cork closes down Jack Grealish
Jack Cork closes down Jack Grealish

The 31-year-old came on at half-time for Josh Brownhill, for his first Premier League action since fracturing his ankle at the end of June.

And he is in line for his first league start at Chelsea - the club where he started his career - on Sunday.

Cork replaced Brownhill, who had an ankle injury, and his energy and composure helped Burnley get a grip of a game that could have been out of sight, with the Clarets twice coming from a goal down to win 3-2.

Back in December, Cork agreed a new deal until June, 2022 with the option of a further 12 months, and he showed his importance to the side again against Villa.

Dyche said: "I enjoyed his performance, I have done for many years, which is why he signed a new contract.

"We're very happy with what he's done to get himself back fit, he's worked very hard, and he and Dale Stephens were excellent at Fulham.

"Corky came on and delivered a really good performance against Villa, and it's not easy to come on in games, at Liverpool I said the same to Erik Pieters, fantastic.

"I think Corky came into a game that was awkward for us, and he does what he does, endless effort and energy to the belief and the cause, and also his control in dealing with the ball and positional sense he's got.

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"It was a very good performance, particularly after we lost Browny, who's been very effective for us for a long time now.

"It's good to have those players available, these are players I believe are very good players."

While Burnley have had good midfielders in Dyche's reign, that group is arguably as competitive as it has been, with Cork, Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Stephens and Josh Benson all pushing for a start in the engine room, and Dyche is delighted with the options he currently has available: "We've had some very good players in there, thinking back to Dean Marney, Joey (Barton), Westy, Corky, Browny has come through tremendously over the last eight, nine months, we want Dale to do the same, young Benno.

"You want that kind of attitude to your midfield, every position, but I started as a midfielder and it's still one of the toughest jobs.

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"Striker is probably the toughest, but midfield is a tough job - you're expected to do a lot, linking the play, defending, doing everything around the pitch, working tremendously hard, covering endless miles in games, and we've got a group of midfielders who are all willing to do that, and it bodes well for us in that area."