Clarets boss Sean Dyche hopes Danny Drinkwater’s brush with trouble will prove to be nothing more than a bump in the road on his way back to his best form.
Drinkwater, 29, is currently nursing an ankle injury after a reported ‘attack’ outside the Chinawhite club in Manchester a fortnight ago.
But, as you would expect, there was no knee jerk reaction from Dyche, who prides himself on the development of players on and off the pitch.
Dyche is determined to get the England international fit again, and pushing for a place in the squad, before he can think about displacing Ashley Westwood or Jack Cork in the starting line up.
He said: “You can’t just talk about development when it’s good news.
“You also have to work with players if things aren’t quite as good.
“I try and talk to the players, and more so if things aren’t quite as right as they should be.
“That bit’s not ideal. It’s not too serious (the injury), but it’s certainly a couple of weeks and then getting back on the grass and then getting another game in to catch up somewhat.
“He’s a player I had worked with before at Watford, quite a number of years ago.
“I think I know a little bit about what he’s about. He’s had a lot happen since then, of course, with a lot of good successes in his career so I think we want to get him back to that really.
“This is just a bump in the situation. We want to make sure he gets back to being fully fit, playing well, the eye of the tiger that it takes to be a top player – which he has shown he can be.
“There’s no two ways about that.”
Drinkwater may be a Chelsea player, but Dyche assumes full responsibility for him while he is on loan with Burnley: “When we take somebody in – regardless of being on loan – he becomes part of us and anyone who joins us becomes part of us.
“We’ve got to work with the player in the correct manner, which we do.
“It’s easy to spend time with players when it’s all going well and everything is rosy.
“Sometimes it’s more satisfying to work with players when things are not quite right, so we’ll certainly continue working with him, help with his fitness and help him get re-aligned to where he was and where he wants to be.
“And the only way he can do that is getting himself right here, on the pitch, and getting in the team.”
Stan Ternent used to say: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”.
And Dyche knows the player ultimately has to put things right himself: “It’s about him as well. He wants to be back there playing well.
“He’s had a tough couple of years football-wise, not playing much.
“He wants the hunger and desire to flood back into him and you have to earn that.
“You have to earn the right to bring back those feel-good factors and deliver the performances and that’s what we want from him.
“He was doing that before this incident. He was working hard on his training and I’m sure he will do as soon as he’s fit again.”