Nick Pope was taken to hospital with a shoulder injury Sean Dyche feels “is more serious than not” after being hurt in a collision early in Burnley’s 1-1 Europa League draw at Aberdeen.
Having only returned to training on Tuesday having had a brief break after the World Cup, Pope was pitched in at Pittodrie after Tom Heaton aggravated a calf problem at Preston on Monday night.
But, as Heaton missed out on his first competitive game since dislocating his shoulder last September, there were echoes of that sickening injury as Pope was forced off in some distress after having his shoulder knocked back after teammate James Tarkowski was nudged into him by Dons striker Sam Cosgrove.
Anders Lindegaard came on for his Burnley debut, and his first task was the pick the ball out of the net from a Gary Mackay-Steven penalty, before Sam Vokes’ late leveller out Burnley in a good position ahead of the second leg at Turf Moor.
Dyche said on Pope: “We’ll find out more, he’s gone to hospital, at this stage it looks more serious than not serious. It was a strange challenge on him, not nasty, but he was dealing with the ball and it was a bit late and knocked him down.
“I think it was the second phase, and he got his shoulder or arm knocked back, we’re just waiting on clarification.
“We don’t know what it is really.”
The Europa League will stretch a squad which is slightly light on numbers, but Dyche added: “Injuries can happen in any game, but we know our squad is at stretch every year.
“We’ll wait and see, Tom has a minor calf injury, and Anders did great. It’s not easy to walk on there in that sort of game, and he handled that nicely.
“We’ll wait and see on Popey.”
And he felt his side certainly deserved their late leveller, as Vokes netted a precious away goal: “When you think how the game panned out, you’d take the away goal and the draw.
“On reflection of the whole game, we probably deserved to edge it, we created enough, but not remotely taking anything away from Aberdeen, who certainly made it a proper game.
“The atmosphere - I thought the fans were excellent for both, and it felt like a real game, so credit to Aberdeen for that.
“The penalty changed the feel in the stadium, and then we responded well over the remainder of the game.
“We can’t get one, we haven’t had one in over a calendar year, I don’t know how much contact there was, I didn’t look a lot. I’ve only seen it on the laptop, not crystal clear, but it doesn’t look a lot of contact, but that’s the way it goes.”
And he was delighted with the impact of substitute Vokes: “I thought Vokesy did really well, we debated whether he started, how the game would pan out, but I was pleased with the timing of it and he was a real handful when he came on.
“He scored a very good goal, stayed composed, didn’t fight the situation, he watched the hall drop and it was a fine finish.
“He definitely impacted the game, which is what you want coming off the bench.”
And Dyche certainly isn’t taking the second leg for granted: “We’re not a side who takes anything for granted, so we don’t go back home thinking it’s a done deal, absolutely not. We’ll have to work do everything we get as we always have done.”