Pope in line for FA Cup start for Burnley

Sean Dyche is considering an FA Cup return for Nick Pope on Saturday.
Nick PopeNick Pope
Nick Pope

And that would spark a battle royale for the jersey, with three England international keepers fit and available.

Pope, who went to the World Cup with England, ahead of Tom Heaton and Joe Hart, dislocated his shoulder on his return in the first leg of the Europa League second qualifying round tie at Aberdeen.

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He returned for the Under 23s last month, but is in line to start at Turf Moor against Barnsley on Saturday in the third round of the FA Cup.

With Pope fit and back in the mix, Dyche will have an almighty selection decision, with club captain Heaton having made his first Premier League start since September 2017 against West Ham on Sunday, replacing the previously ever-present Hart.

Dyche said: “Popey is getting closer, he’s training all the time now virtually, so he needs to get at least one more game into him.

”Possibly we’ll consider it for the cup game, because he’s that clear.

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“He’s been training with us for about a month, and we have to be careful, we have to give him the chance to be right, and, of course, the competitive element with the other goalkeepers – Tom has come in and delivered a very good performance.”

Three into one won’t go, however, and Dyche added: “Joe’s done well for us, he’s a quality keeper and a quality professional, as a bloke as well. He was the first to jump up when Tom made the save right at the end against West Ham.

“There’s a big respect for him around here, and a big decision coming - you’ve got three England goalkeepers, and all high quality.“

Meanwhile, Robbie Brady could return to the squad tomorrow, but Steven Defour is unlikely to be fit - although Dyche insists there is nothing sinister with his absence: “Robbie’s got a chance, Steven I don’t think will.

“Wardy is getting closer, but needs match time.

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“Steven’s not really serious, it’s just making sure, to make sure he comes back.

“Robbie’s has just been a knock, a very slight tear in his hip abductor, it just needing settling down, but he’s been back on the grass training and he’s clear at the moment, so he’s got a chance of coming back into the thinking.”