Dyche set for injury boost ahead of trip to Old Trafford?
Sean Dyche could have his options significantly strengthened for the trip to Old Trafford on Saturday.
Burnley picked up their third win of the season on Saturday without Steven Defour (hamstring), George Boyd (back) and Andre Gray (suspension), with Ashley Barnes (hamstring) yet to kick a ball for the first team so far this season.
Stephen Ward also came off with a bruised knee late in the game.
But all five could be available to face Manchester United.
Defour suffered a hamstring problem in the 3-1 defeat at Southampton, but Dyche said of the one-time United target: “It’s settled down really well. He’s still touch and go, but he’s really pleased and clear-minded about how it feels and we’re happy with it as well.”
And he added: “Boydy is favourable, its feeling a lot easier, and Barnesey came through 90 minutes on Tuesday for the Development Squad, which is good for his fitness.
“He nicked a goal as well, in a tough game - we had a weakened team, a very young side, so we’ll monitor him and see how he’s feeling after an elongated break.
“We want to make sure he feels right, but he was certainly fine afterwards.”
Gray has been out for four games after an FA ban for historic tweets, and he was back on Twitter at the weekend, with a picture of a caged lion, showing he is champing at the bit to return.
Dyche said: “Andre is back after suspension now, so we have more strength in depth.
“He’s just trained appropriately to be right when he was available again.
“In among all the lads who haven’t been playing, it’s part of what we do that you always have to be ready when needed, and he used his time out wisely as he could.”
And Ward has shrugged off the knock he suffered against the Toffees: “Wardy just had a knock, he trained Tuesday and I can’t see that being a problem. It was a knock rather than anything else.”
No matter the personnel on duty tomorrow, Dyche is under no illusions as to the size of the task.
Manchester United have come in for criticism after Sunday’s 4-0 defeat at Chelsea, but Jose Mourinho’s side responded with a 1-0 EFL Cup derby win over Manchester City on Wednesday night.
Dyche said: “They are a fine side, just look at the bench.
“They are top players, with a top manager.
“I just think it takes time to mould a team, no matter who you are.
“They have a top group of players, that’s not changed. Results come and go, for whatever reason, but I think they are a top side.
“There’s a lot made of the ins and outs and ups and downs of whatever goes on at the top clubs, but it takes time to work with a group of players, whether you have a high class background like Jose Mourinho or not.”
Burnley have lost all three away games in the Premier League so far, but Dyche countered: “I questioned the Southampton performance, but if you look at our first four away games, I think that is a really hard run for any team, whether you’re established at this level or new to it like we are.
“Chelsea, Leicester - still in their pomp early season on the back of a big win in the Champions League, a Southampton team that hadn’t lost in nine and then went and got a draw at Manchester City, and now Manchester United.
“We have to be realistic and know the market we are in. It’s a big challenge, but one we look forward to.”
But the Clarets have beaten big sides already in Liverpool and Everton.
And Dyche will look to formulate another tactical plan for United: “We have to find a way - it will be really important. We knew we would have to defend against Liverpool and have a good structure. If we tried to take them on at their game, they have better players - they are all £30m players virtually.
“We have to make games awkward for teams.
“The real technical sides can not be quite as good at the other side of the game so we have to use our strengths and skill set.
“It’s not easy, but we want to make games about us.
“The bigger picture for me is looking at performance levels, and that can be many different things - so far we’ve had to defend very well, nick goals and try and create really good chances to win games, which I think we’ve done pretty well.
“Over a season you have to get those levels right.”