Clarets pair Defour and Tarkowski doubtful ahead of trip to St James' Park
The Clarets could be without James Tarkowski and Steven Defour for Wednesday night's trip to St James' Park as the club's injury list continues to grow.
Boss Sean Dyche described Tarkowski as 'touch and go' for the Premier League game against Newcastle United after the centre back developed a groin problem while Belgium international Defour is awaiting the opinion of a specialist in relation to an ongoing knee injury.
Midfielder Dean Marney, who was last involved in the matchday squad for the FA Cup tie against Manchester City at the Etihad, remains among the group's walking wounded having tweaked a medial ligament in his knee but Dyche had better news to share on the recovery of Stephen Ward and record signing Chris Wood.
The Republic of Ireland international trained with the squad for the first time today while Wood moved a step closer to a return when getting out with the medial team.
"We'll have to wait and see (on Defour)", said Dyche. "We’re getting some advice. It’s one that he’s managed to play through for the past few weeks.
"He’s just been feeling it a bit, so we’re getting more advice. It’s a bit of a conundrum to the physios until they get more advice on it.
"It depends on the specialist’s view. It’s sort of a wear and tear situation. Sometimes they are, sometimes they’re not. Sometimes they’re best left alone.
"That’s why I said we’re a bit unsure ourselves for that reason. It’s more of a wear and tear thing than a case of it being any moment where something’s happened."
Dyche added: "Tarky has a minor problem with his groin and is touch and go for this week. But Wardy had his first training session with us and Woody's making good progress on the grass with the physios."
Numbers are currently thin on the ground, the squad is down to its bare bones, but Dyche remains more than satisfied with his options.
Ashley Westwood, who has has had to be patient having only made six starts this season, has impressed when called upon while Kevin Long has done the same in the absence of Tarkowski or Ben Mee.
Dyche said: "I thought he (Westwood) was excellent against Manchester City recently. He’s a very good player. Immaculate professional, very good player. So I’ve absolutely no other thought: If we need him, he’ll play.
"Longy has got more football this year and done very well. The upside in the longer view of the achievement level of the club is that those players have got to know what it is.
"Some players haven’t played that much in the Premier League, so every time they get a window to play, the bigger picture beyond results is that it’s another player who is performing at the highest level, and therefore improving and learning.
"So the longer-term view needs that to happen. You don’t want it happening through injury, obviously. You’d prefer it to happen because they’re playing so well that you pick them.
"But if there is a positive at all to an injury, it is the fact that they get some game time, and that’s important in their learning and development, and so the group can improve and move forward.
"I wouldn’t put that in front of results, you understand. Results are key. But if you’re going to get stretched, then get players on the pitch who are going to improve."