Burnley boss Sean Dyche not expected to recall striker Nahki Wells from QPR loan spell
Sean Dyche is not expected to recall striker Nahki Wells from his loan spell at QPR, despite Ashley Barnes facing a spell on the sidelines.
Barnes will see a specialist on Friday over a troublesome groin problem, and is likely to miss Saturday’s trip to Chelsea.
And his likely replacement Jay Rodriguez has been away from the training ground all week with flu.
That would leave Dyche with only Chris Wood and Matej Vydra - with three Premier League starts in over a season and a half - as his senior striking options.
Wells is on a season-long loan with the Hoops, scoring 12 goals this term, having enjoyed a similar stint in West London last season, when he netted nine times in 43 appearances.
He ended a nine-game goal drought with a hat-trick against Cardiff City on New Year’s Day, but Dyche admits he is likely to stay put.
Wells has only made 10 appearances for Burnley since a £5m move from Huddersfield Town in 2017, and Dyche said: “I don’t think we’ll interrupt him at this moment in time.
“It seems to be going well, and do you need to affect that?
“We don’t know the situation with Barnesy until Friday, and we’ve still got two and a half weeks to make the decision.
“At this early stage, the medical team don’t think it’s a long term thing, but it may need something doing, so we’ll see then.
“There is a break clause. We try to be as honourable as we can, and honour the contract if we say it’s for a season.
“But there’s always a break clause, to suit both teams, and the player.”
Wells is out of contract in the summer, although the club have an option in their favour.
Dyche’s squad will be stretched again at Chelsea, as he explained: “We will almost definitely be missing Barnsey. He is seeing a specialist. He has been getting on with things and trying to get through a period with an over-use injury, so that will get checked out.
“Johann (Berg Gudmundsson) won’t make it, but the good news is it’s not as serious as it could have been. It is a hamstring injury, but it is settling down already, and should do quickly.
“We’ve got two more who I’d expected to be through it by now – Bardo (Phil Bardsley) and Jay Rod are both down ill, and have been since Monday.
“So it’s obviously a deeper thing than just a bug. They’re not in today (Thursday), so we’ll see how they come through that, and if they’re available tomorrow. The doctor is assessing them today. It’s the usual stuff – high temperature and the rest of it. We keep getting nearly back, and then get another knock. That’s just the way it is.”
The rest of his players are fit, although Ben Gibson ideally needs some game time before returning to the squad: “Chris Wood was just a precaution. He was coming off anyway, so it was kind of lucky timing there.
“He basically had a tight hamstring and that was a precaution. He’s trained and he’s fine.
“Gibbo, he’s back training. Ideally he could do with a game, but he’s super-fit player and he’s still got his eye in. Dwight (McNeil) had a knock but he’s been training today as well.
“So there shouldn’t be a problem with him either.”
Rodriguez arguably merits a start whether or not Barnes is fit, having taken his tally to six goals for the season with two in the FA Cup win over Peterborough.
If he isn’t available, that would be a cruel blow: “Jay has been knocking on the door, figuratively all season.
“He’s been around it, he’s scored a few goals and we like what he’s about.
“We’ll see how he come through his illness, but I thought he connected well with the team and with Woody against Peterborough.
“I appreciate they’re not a Premier League team, but you will have to perform to win those games.
“So we’re definitely looking for him to play his part with the team. As I believe he will.
“He has been off all week, and I think it’s real flu, not man flu that we all get slaughtered about!
“It’s real actual flu, because he’s still got a temperature. It doesn’t mean he definitely won’t be fit, but it’s not like a one day thing. Bardo is a bit similar.”