Tarky set to boost Dyche ahead of Toffees clash

Clarets defender James Tarkowski is set to return to the squad for the televised visit of Everton to Turf Moor.

Burnley centre back James Tarkowski
Burnley centre back James Tarkowski

The 25-year-old has missed seven of the last 11 games through suspension and injury, as Burnley have suffered a run of 12 games in all competitions without a win.

But the former Oldham youngster came through a behind-closed-doors game with Preston at Turf Moor on Tuesday unscathed – along with skipper Tom Heaton, strikers Chris Wood, Sam Vokes and Nahki Wells, and winger Georges-Kevin NKoudou.

While Heaton is still getting up to speed after five months out, Wood was back on the bench against Southampton last Saturday, while Vokes, Wells and Nkoudou were topping up their fitness.

But Tarkowski’s run out has confirmed his availability, as Sean Dyche said yesterday morning: “Tarky is certainly back in contention.

“He had no problems and felt fine on Tuesday.

“Tom needs game time, but he performed well, and Woody got 90 minutes after 70 last week.

“We had to be caeful last week with him, but he’s had more training and game time, and is getting sharper.

“Vokesy, GK and Nahki also got 90 minutes, and all went well.”

Heaton has completed two 90 minutes now, but Dyche explained: “We want to make sure Tom is right. He is the ultimate professional, and I will liase with him about how he feels.

“He knows himself when his eye is in, but he is training well, and there are no big question marks.

“It’s for him to know when he feels really clear-minded and ready.”

However, Scott Arfield remains on the sidelines with a calf problem, as Dyche said: “Scotty won’t be right for Saturday.”

And Jon Walters is still building up his fitness after a minor knee operation: “Jon is doing well, steady away, but it will take time.”

Dyche battled through the snow drifts to the Barnfield Training Centre this morning for training, with the weather not impacting on training this week ahead of the session.

And he is eager to get down to business against Everton and try and claim that elusive win: “It wasn’t an overwhelmingly brilliant performance against Southampton, but the stats were good, and it was a step back towards where we think we should be after Swasea.

“And the competition is increasing, with people getting back fit, so that can only help.”

The Toffess have only won once away from home this season, but Dyche anticipates a difficult game against Sam Allardyce’s men – including Michael Keane, who moved from Turf Moor for £25m in the summer: “They’d had a change of manager, thinking and system – the hardest thing in football is there is no time limit. But they have very good players, some of which they have spent a lot of money on.

“Form doesn’t guarantee the future, so we will have to be at our best and take them as seriously as anyone else.”