Skipper can see light at the end of the tunnel

Burnley's goalkeeper Thomas Heaton is injured and substituted after this clash with team-mate Ben Mee and Crystal Palace's James McArthur

Photographer Stephen White/CameraSport

The Premier League - Burnley v Crystal Palace - Sunday 10th September 2017 - Turf Moor - Burnley

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Burnley's goalkeeper Thomas Heaton is injured and substituted after this clash with team-mate Ben Mee and Crystal Palace's James McArthur Photographer Stephen White/CameraSport The Premier League - Burnley v Crystal Palace - Sunday 10th September 2017 - Turf Moor - Burnley World Copyright � 2017 CameraSport. All rights reserved. 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - admin@camerasport.com - www.camerasport.com

Clarets skipper Tom Heaton can “see some light at the end of the tunnel” as he closes in on a return to fitness.

The England international has been out of action since early September after dislocating his shoulder in the 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Turf Moor.

Bar three games last season he missed with injury and illness, he had been an ever-present in the league since arriving on a free transfer from Bristol City in the summer of 2013.

Nick Pope has filled in admirably in his absence, keeping 10 clean sheets in his first taste of Premier League football, but the return of Heaton would be a big bonus for the club over the second half of the season.

Heaton isn’t far away from a return to training, having had his shoulder assessed further by surgeons in December, and he said: “The last few months of the year have been a bit different, with a few different challenges.

“But, as with the team, I’m positive about what’s to come.

“It’s frustrating being injured, but, having spoken to a couple of surgeons I saw in the middle of December, they are delighted with the progress I’m making.

“I’m really chomping at the bit to get back at it.”

Heaton, who also has hopes of making Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup, added: “I can see some light at the end of the tunnel and I’m looking forward to getting back out onto the grass. I’m hoping it won’t be too long.”