New signing Dale Stephens could make Burnley debut against Southampton

New signing Dale Stephens could make his Burnley debut against former club Southampton tomorrow.
Dale StephensDale Stephens
Dale Stephens

But former Saints striker Jay Rodriguez is expected to miss the Turf Moor clash with an ankle injury.

Stephens sealed his move from Brighton on Thursday evening, and is in contention to be involved against Southampton, where he made six appearances on loan from Oldham Athletic in 2011.

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Boss Sean Dyche said: “I’ll think he’ll get what it’s about here, he’ll know most of our players, playing against them, I think he’ll fit in really well and quite effectively and quickly.

“The good thing is he’s been active in pre-season, he’s had a few days when he’s not done too much, but we tested him yesterday and he tested well, so he has a good base fitness, so I’d certainly consider he could go into the side, or a version of it, the squad definitely.

“That’s helpful.”

However, Rodriguez is struggling after coming off in the first half of the Carabao Cup win at Millwall on Wednesday night: “I’m waiting on news on Jay Rod, but I’d be amazed if he’s fit for Saturday, there’s a chance, but I doubt it.”

Dyche is upbeat about welcoming back a number of key players in the coming days and weeks, however: “We are stretched, the good news is Barnesy has another game, so he’s closer to fitness and looks nice and bright in training.

“Ben Mee is making progress, so there are some signs.

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“Johann is making progress, it won’t be days but not as long as we first thought, I’m certainly hopeful in the next week we’ve got a chance with some of those players, if not, I think after the international break they’ve all got a chance of being fit.

“It is looking slightly more healthy, but it is unhelpful when we keep losing players.”

Dyche will check on James Tarkowski’s toe injury, which has kept him out of the first three games of the season, and he said: “I’ll wait on more news on him, it’s not serious but it’s inflamed, his toe, so if it settles down, he’s got a chance.”

Tarkowski has been the subject of two offers from West Ham, both rejected, and asked whether his head has been turned, Dyche said: “I don’t think it’s helpful, too much noise, but he’ll be used to it, he’ll know all about that.

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“We’ve had links with lots of players the last few years, him included only last year.

“He’s a top pro, a very level headed guy, and once his injury is right, he’ll get on with things, as he always does.”

As regards the prospect of more new faces, Dyche was asked about Liverpool wideman Harry Wilson, and he typically played a straight bat: “I try and limit information on situations that are not real, until they are. I mentioned about Dale Stephens after the Millwall game because I knew it was more or less done.

“That was actively happening while the game was going on.

“Then I can speak openly about the player.

“But when they are all rumours, I tend not to.

“I don’t want to speak about other people’s players until they become part of us.

“There’s a number of things we are considering, but it takes that magic chequebook to get them done, so we’ll wait and see what happens.”