BURNLEY assistant boss Jason Tindall is confident skipper Jason Shackell will be fit to return against Sheffield Wednesday tonight.
The summer signing missed his first league game of the season on Saturday, having been named in the starting line-up, only to be withdrawn after the warm-up with a knee injury.
As Eddie Howe’s men search for only a second clean sheet in the Championship, against a Wednesday side who have lost their last six games in all competitions, the former Derby man would be a welcome option at the back.
Burnley have shipped 20 goals in 11 games in all competitions, but Tindall feels the side are capable of ironing out any defensive deficiencies and Shackell will play a key role in that: “He was a late withdrawal on Saturday, he was touch and go leading up to the game, and it’s day by day with him - he could be alright any day.
“But he’s already better than he was on Saturday, so he has every chance of being available and playing against Sheffield Wednesday.
“Hopefully he will play, if not, it’s not serious and he’ll be back very soon.”
Shackell has an issue with his knee, playing with Kinesio Taping for a spell, and Tindall explained: “It’s a little problem at the back of his knee, it’s not the joint, it’s not a major issue, just something he’s aggravated.
“What we can’t afford to do with the numbers we have available to us, is risk anyone and lose them for a length of time.
“That’s why we’ve been cautious with the likes of Pato, because we feel the need to protect our players as much as possible and have them available as often as we can.”
And the injury to Shackell won’t necessitate dipping into the loan market: “We’re always keeping an eye out on loans and players available to strengthen the squad because we’re very light on numbers, and if any come available we could sign, we’d seriously look at it.
“But Shacks’ injury isn’t serious enough to think about bringing anyone in in that position - we have David Edgar, Michael Duff, Ben Mee and Kevin Long.
“If he was out for four or five weeks we’d consider it, but it’s a minor injury and he could be back at any time,
“We also have the international break after Saturday, which will probably come at a good time for us.”
Tindall is keen to see a more miserly defensive record, however, and while Charlie Austin is rattling in the goals - currently the country’s top scorer with 11 - he admits the goals against column is a concern: “It’s a major source of frustration, we’re obviously disappointed with the amount of goals we’ve conceded and hopefully we’ll put that right.
“We went through a similar stage last season where we were struggling to keep clean sheets, then we went on a terrific run, and stopped the rot.
“We’re confident that will happen, it’s just cutting out the little decisions and individual errors that are costing us dearly at the minute.
“Once they are eradicated, then we don’t see too much of a problem.”