Clarets wait on Barton outcome
Clarets midfielder Joey Barton faces an FA commision into misconduct charges related to alleged betting offences tomorrow.
Barton came off late on in the 3-2 defeat at Swansea City on Saturday with a hamstring problem, and could well have played his last game for the club, with the prospect of a lengthy suspension.
The 34-year-old has a contract until the end of the season, but with 11 games remaining, it remains to be seen how the FA deem his case, having asked for a personal hearing to answer charges in lieu of 1,260 bets over a 10-year period.
Boss Sean Dyche is relaxed over the situation, and explained why he was replaced at the Liberty Stadium: “Joey was struggling with his hamstring a bit, obviously we don’t know what will happen, but you can’t risk players on the verge of a possible injury.”
In the pre-Swansea press conference at Gawthorpe on Thursday, Dyche isn’t fearful of a potential suspension, and will await the outcome of the commission: “It was something to do with himself and the FA, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens with that.
“That’s for him and his team to take on with the FA and see how it comes out.
“I don’t fear anything, because I don’t know what’s going to happen.
“As much as we get on really well I don’t sit him down and go ‘what do you want to do?
“He’s his own man. He’ll make his own way.”
Should Barton suffer a suspension, Dyche will have his midfield options cut, with Dean Marney already out for the season with a cruciate knee ligament injury.
However, Jeff Hendrick returned from a ban at Swansea, while hesigned Ashley Westwood from Aston Villa for £5m during the January transfer window, and Steven Defour is back in full training following a hamstring injury suffered four weeks ago.
Dyche will have Ashley Barnes available after suspension for the trip to Liverpool on Sunday, while skipper Tom Heaton is expected to return after missing Saturday’s game with illness.
Paul Robinson stood in for Heaton, and Dyche explained: “I’m not one for excuses, Robbo didn’t have much chance with the goals, and Tom was unfortunately ill at four o’clock in the morning in the hotel, and just wasn’t strong enough.”