Burnley boss Sean Dyche hoping to have players back in contention for Sheffield United clash

Sean Dyche is hopeful of having his options boosted for what has become a big game in the race for Europe.

Jack Cork picked up an ankle injury on Monday night
Jack Cork picked up an ankle injury on Monday night

Burnley host Sheffield United at Turf Moor at noon on Sunday, with both sides very much in the mix for European football.

Ahead of the Blades’ home game with Spurs at Bramall Lane last night, Burnley sat ninth, a point above Chris Wilder’s side, level on points with Spurs, and one behind seventh-place Arsenal .

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Eighth place looks like being enough for a return to the Europa League, if Manchester City’s UEFA ban is upheld.

And while Dyche is still likely to be without a number of senior personnel, there could be encouraging news from the treatment room.

He said: “We were in on Wednesday, Jay Rod(riguez) looks pretty clear, I’ll get more feedback, but he looked good.

“Obviously we’re having to train less to make sure we don’t break them, but he was fine.

“Chris Wood had his first session back with the team, but Jay has been playing, Woody will need more sessions.

“Robbie Brady had his first session team training, he;s been on the grass with the sports scientists and physios, but he had a normal team training session.

“Johann (Berg Gudmundsson) has been training with the team for about a week now, we’ve had to be careful with him - even with the fact we’ve not got many players, we can’t just break them, that’s no use to man nor beast.

“He’s on about day seven of normal team training, on top of work on the back of that.

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“Certainly at least two of those might be in the squad, not necessarily starting.

“Jay is the obvious one who has a chance of starting, because he’s had two games before his hamstring, so he has the best chance.”

However, Ashley Barnes remains out, along with Matt Lowton, and Jack Cork is a doubt after coming off with a twisted ankle at Crystal Palace on Monday night: “Lowts is unlikely, he’s not going to be a week, we’ll see how that goes.

“He’s got this stress response on a bone in his foot. It has to heal.

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“It’s not like a proper fracture, an eight-weeker, it’s a micro situation, but it’s swollen up and we have to let it settle down.

“Corky I’m waiting on news, he got a decent twist on his ankle.

“He’s had it before, but that’s favourable because it tears the scar tissue and settles down quick.

“He was a bit easier on Wednesday, but by no means showing he was going to be fit.

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“We’ll make a late call on him.”

For two of the three games since the restart, Burnley have only had seven of the nine available substitutes, and Dyche added: “At least we might be able to start filling the bench.

“People somehow still question why we’re not – we’re putting everyone we have on the bench, that’s why we have two keepers, I don’t know how people are not getting that message. There’s no angle!

“But if Johann, Robbie, Woody can get around it, we might at least be starting to look forwards again.”

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Dyche has been unable to call on the Under 23 players who had been out on loan, although there is special dispensation if clubs have severe injury problems, and he said: “We’ve asked the question, but what might alter that is the return of some of the others.

“If Johann, Robbie, Woody can get around it, we might at least be starting to look forwards again.

“But we have questioned it with the league. The media are saying ‘Sean Dyche is doing this and that’, and the Premier League, in theory, could say ‘why are you doing that?’

“But we’ve got no players!

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“Hopefully that will change this weekend – there’s a good chance some of these lads can at least get involved."