'I have never seen anything like it' - Burnley boss Sean Dyche on injury situation
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A month ago, it looked like Dyche was finally getting close to a virtually fully-fit squad, but a fresh spate of problems have left his options down to the bare bones again.
Captain Ben Mee and Erik Pieters missed the 1-1 draw with Fulham on Wednesday night after suffering injuries at Crystal Palace on Saturday, while wingers Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Robbie Brady picked up fresh problems against the Cottagers.
Add the absence of strikers Chris Wood and Matej Vydra with hamstring injuries, and midfielder Dale Stephens, and the squad is very stretched all of a sudden.
Mee will return against West Brom on Saturday after six days out following concussion protocols, but Dyche said of the situation in general, and hailed his players’ mentality: “We have so many injuries and we have got more.
“But the players seem to just keep going regardless of what the challenge is.
“We have the quite obvious challenge of the Premier League, and the challenge with injuries has been unbelievable – I have never seen anything like it, we get people fit, they go down injured.
“The games schedule is the only thing we can look at, way more games, strange kick-off times – it’s not a gripe, the world is in a strange place and we all have to do what we do – but it must have had an effect because I have been here eight and a half years, I have all the facts, stats and analysis and I have never seen anything like it.
“We have got training schedules for eight years, we know what works for us, and we have adapted that.
“We’re trying to get rest when we can, recovery, food, fluids, training times –we’ve looked at what we can, so the only thing we can put it down to is the amount of games and the timing of games.
“It must have an effect at some point, but I’m surprised it’s had this big an effect.
“But it will slow down, it has to, both injuries and the games schedule, and we have to hope it kind of pays us back if we can get people fit, they stay fit.”
Gudmundsson appeared to over-extend his right leg in a challenge before half-time against Fulham and felt his hamstring, while replacement Brady lasted 25 minutes either side of the break before being forced off.
Dyche explained: “With Johann, it’s a tight hamstring, but probably a little bit more than a tight one.
“We will have to wait and see, I’m sure they’ll scan it,
“Robbie was on and off with an ankle and his achilles that he’s been struggling with.
“I have had to make a call on that one because if he carries on and it gets worse and worse, it’s not a week, 10 days, it’s three, four, five weeks.
“It’s just really tough, I am having to make calls on whether people can play or not, trying to protect them and still get results.
“If you add all that in the mix, overall it was another point gained and generally a solid performance.”