Burnley midfielder closes in on Premier League return

Steven Defour
Steven Defour
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Steven Defour is closing in on a return to Premier League action.

But Robbie Brady won’t be involved at Manchester City on Saturday.

Defour has made one appearance since the end of January, in the Carabao Cup defeat at Burton Albion at the end of September, after undergoing knee surgery.

He was on the bench at Cardiff City three weeks ago, but missed the following week’s home game with Huddersfield Town to return home to be with his father, who passed away that weekend.

Both Defour and Brady, who has had a number of niggles since returning from a patellar knee tendon injury suffered in December, both came through 90 minutes behind closed doors against an AFC Fylde XI on Tuesday, and boss Sean Dyche gave an injury update on Thursday afternoon: “Steven, although he’s been injury free, he got another 90 in in midweek, which is great, to make sure he’s fit and well, which he is.

“Robbie came through that as well, his first 90 minutes, because he’s been close to 90 minutes and we’ve just had to take him off with a little niggle, the last one was his hamstring when he was clear.

“We’re not going to clear him for this week, but that’s a great step forward.

“There’s only early Steven who’s close to being back into real work, he’s just had the Cup game and we had to be careful with that.

“He feels fine, it’s just us being careful, but he’s training really well and his eye looks in.

“We look forward to having him back, he’s more or less there.”

Burnley have missed the pair, and, on Defour, Dyche added: “He’s a very good player, everyone knows that, he was really coming into his own last season, really making strides for himself and the side, but behind that he knows he’s got a competitive element, the other midfield players have done well while he’s been out, so he’ll have to earn the right first.

“I think it’s helpful, to more good players you have available.”

Burnley are also without Stephen Ward, who had knee surgery this week, Nick Pope (dislocated shoulder), Ben Gibson (groin) and Jon Walters, who picked up an Achilles injury on loan at Ipswich Town.

Dyche explained: “Jon Walters’ injury is settling, it’s a longer-term situation.

“Wardy, unfortunately, has had sort of a tidy up, his knee had a wash out if you like.

“So we’ll wait and see, that will be weeks rather than days.

“And Popey is out on the grass with Billy Mercer, But tentatively, just getting his handling going, not flying around at this stage, but he’s going along very well.

“Ben Gibson is joining in with training and hopefully will get a game next week, behind closed doors.”