Sky Sports pundit praises Burnley boss Dyche for handling of 'big blow'
Sky Sports pundit Sue Smith has argued that being without the injured Nick Pope was a “big blow” for Burnley this weekend.
The England goalkeeper was absent from Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of Newcastle United after picking up a shoulder injury against Southampton seven days prior.
Northern Ireland international Bailey Peacock-Farrell came into the starting XI to deputise for the 28-year-old and gave a solid enough account of himself, but Smith has made it clear just how important she believes Pope is to Sean Dyche’s side.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ Football Show, the ex-England international said: “It is a big blow [being without Pope].
“I know they’ve got Peacock-Farrell, but he hasn’t got Pope’s Premier League experience, and that’s something that you need – particularly in the run-in towards the end of the season.
"I just think that if Pope isn’t 100% you don’t want to risk him because you don’t want to make it any worse.
"It was probably a good decision to keep him out yesterday, to make sure he’s fit before he comes back in for the latter stages of the Premier League.”
Clarets boss Dyche delivered an update on Pope’s situation after the defeat to Newcastle, and suggested that he should be back in time to face Manchester United on Sunday.
He said: "He [Pope] went down to make a save at Southampton and it has settled down but we are in risk and reward territory when games come around like this one so in the end it was decided he wasn't quite right.
"We are hopeful for next week but we will see.”