Old heads crucial in the run in – Dyche

As midfielder Matt Taylor closes in on a first team return, Clarets boss Sean Dyche feels his experience could be key in the run-in.
Matt Taylor came through 45 minutes on Friday after six months out injuredMatt Taylor came through 45 minutes on Friday after six months out injured
Matt Taylor came through 45 minutes on Friday after six months out injured

Burnley have 10 games to climb out of the bottom three, starting with Saturday’s visit of champions Manchester City.

And Dyche’s options could soon be boosted by Taylor, who completed 45 minutes for the Development Squad in a 0-0 draw at former club Bolton Wanderers’ training ground on Friday, after six months out with an Achilles problem.

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Taylor - who has never been relegated from the Premier League - started the first three league games, and Dyche feels the 33-year-old, as well as the likes of Steven Reid, Stephen Ward and Michael Duff, could play crucial roles on and off the pitch in the coming weeks.

Steven Reid has a part to playSteven Reid has a part to play
Steven Reid has a part to play

Dyche said: “I think Reidy and Tayls have a different part to play, as well as on the pitch - obviously Tayls has been injured, but generally, their feel and know how of the division rubbing off on others, the way they train, they way they know about the opposition, the way they understand how the Premier League works.

“Wardy’s had bits of that, a few of them have, Duffo, Shacks, and they are the more experienced ones.”

And Dyche feels the older heads, added with his fearless younger players, is a heady mix: “You need that balance of genuine freedom.

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“With the younger players, it’s just a case of kids in a sweet shop - Ingsy, Tripps, just want to play at the best level, Ben Mee, and it’s different for them.

“So I think if you get that balance between a bit of experience and knowledge of how football works at different levels, and add a sprinkling of open-mindedness to take on every challenge, I think that’s healthy.

“Your still got to make that win, of course, but I think that’s an appropriate balance that we’re trying to achieve.”

He feels his side are getting more streetwise at this level, although they are now without a win in seven league games: “When you’re young, your first crack at it is exciting, the freedom of playing...at any age you want to play at the top level, and the quicker the better, so I think they’re responding to that, there are improvements in all the players, and we’ve got to help them improve to their maximum in order to get the job done.”

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Meanwhile, with Taylor close to rejoining the squad, the search continues for new blood - both in terms of free agents, and beyond.

Burnley can still sign out of contract players, and recently had Norwegian international Fredrik Ulvestad, who is available on a Bosman, training with the club: “The search is onwards and upwards regardless. After the window shuts, recruitment is an ongoing process, if there are people out of contract, great, if not, we’re still looking beyond that, for who comes next, who can add to the group, development-style players, who we need for the immediacy etc.”