Owls clash too soon for Barton

New signing Joey Barton will not be involved against Sheffield Wednesday at Turf Moor on Saturday.
Joey Barton.Joey Barton.
Joey Barton.

Barton agreed a one-year deal with the Clarets a fortnight ago.

But, having not gone through a full pre-season after leaving QPR at the end of the season, he needs more time to get up to speed.

Boss Sean Dyche explained: “Joey won’t be considered.

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“He’s still coming through the fitness stage, and is a couple of weeks into a personal pre-season.

“He’s generally fit, but well aware of how we operate and how fit the players are.

“He’s joined in with the first team, but he’s not ready just yet.”

The international break, however, has been good for stepping up the fitness of a number of players.

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Matt Lowton is back in contention after a shin problem, while strikers Andre Gray, Rouwen Hennings and Chris Long have used the fortnight positively, and Dean Marney and Kevin Long have stepped up their return from cruciate injuries.

Dyche said: “Matt (Lowton) has trained with us for the last 10 days or so now, and will be considered part of the group again. It’s just been about getting match fitness.

“Andre, Rouwen and Chris Long have put in a lot of good work as well.

“They are generally fit but have alligned with what we consider to be right.

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“It’s been a really good break in that sense, it has allowed us to get the new signings, who joined us later, settled in and up to the levels we see as appropriate.”

Marney and Long have both featured in two development squad games over the week, and Dyche is delighted with their progress: “They are doing ever so well, although there is still a way to go – even at this stage, getting game time – it is still the recovery period.

“You’re not 100% until you’re on the pitch with the first team, but they are showing strong signs.

“We’re trying to get as many games as possible arranged, within reason, as there has to be a recovery period.”

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Chris Long, with the injury to Lukas Jutkiewicz and departures of Jelle Vossen and Marvin Sordell, is now up the striking pecking order, and Dyche is pleased with his development: “He is certainly up to a better level of fitness after coming in late in pre-season, and his mini pre-season is coming to an end.

“He’s worked really hard with Andre and Rouwen, and he starts coming into the thinking in terms of the group.

“He’s shown good signs.”

Jutkiewicz suffered a cruciate knee injury in the 2-1 win at Bristol City last time out two weeks ago, and had surgery on Wednesday. Dyche hailed his attitude: “Jukes has been spot on, he’s accepted it, and we’ll know more once we speak to him after his op.

“We’ve had good communication with him, and he’s in good spirits. It’s a minor positive, but at least he has players round him who have been through it and are going through similar.”

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The emergency loan window opened on Wednesday, and while Dyche will monitor the situation, especially at centre back, he is happy with the strength and depth at his disposal: “The squad is pretty healthy in terms of numbers and competition.

“The centre back slot we will keep an eye on, but we know Ben Mee is a very good centre back and is able to come across, and Kevin Long is coming back to fitness.

“Other than that, we have good competition in different areas.

“It’s down to the players now, we have always wanted a competitive group, and we have got that now.

“We have to pick the right team we think can win games now.”