Key Clarets trio set for FA Cup return

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Sean Dyche is set to be boosted by the return of a key trio for Saturday’s FA Cup clash with Barnsley.

Steven Defour, Stephen Ward and Nick Pope are all in line to start against the Tykes at Turf Moor.

Stephen Ward

Stephen Ward

Defour has been out just over a month with knee and calf niggles, Ward has had three months out after knee surgery, and Pope dislocated his shoulder at Aberdeen in July.

Dyche will shuffle the pack for the tie, and said: “Steven Defour’s got a good chance. Wardy too has been training for a number of weeks now.

“We’ll consider Popey as well. There’s three more getting closer now.

“We are working on light numbers. We’ve got a competitive group when everyone’s fit.

“We’ve got real competition for every place. We’ve got a group who can really deliver a performance.”

Pope’s return would leave Dyche with three senior England international keepers on their books, and Dyche added: “We’ll see because Popey’s not fully fit yet. He’s chomping to be ready to play.

“Tom’s come in and done well. Joe’s done well. It can be unfortunate for goalkeepers.

“Tom’s come in and the team has operated well. I like them all. It’s who comes in.”

Could one of them go out on loan when Pope is fully fit?: “We’ll see. There’s no reason to other than their reason is that they all want to play.”

Burnley have won their last two Premier League games to climb out of the bottom three, and the cup could be considered a distraction, but Dyche admitted: “I don’t think we really overthink those things.

“We’ve been in these competitions up and down. We’ve adapted to the challenge. It’s game after game. We want to keep that mentality going.

“The feeling in the camp has been good. Tricky over past few months. Nothing reinforces that more than wins.

“That’s what footballers live for, the fans are playing their part. Without any doubt, when you’re winning, it adds to it.”