The selection dilemma facing Burnley boss Sean Dyche after FA Cup triumph at Fulham

Burnley progressed to the fifth round of the FA Cup for only the second time in 10 seasons after beating Fulham 3-0 at Craven Cottage.

Jay Rodriguez (R) of Burnley celebrates with Dwight McNeil and team mates after scoring their side's second goal during The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Fulham and Burnley at Craven Cottage on January 24, 2021 in London, England.
Jay Rodriguez (R) of Burnley celebrates with Dwight McNeil and team mates after scoring their side's second goal during The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Fulham and Burnley at Craven Cottage on January 24, 2021 in London, England.

Jay Rodriguez opened the scoring on the half-hour mark when getting on the end of Jack Cork's pinpoint cross.

The striker doubled his tally in the 71st minute when beating Marek Rodak from the spot once Michael Hector had brought Matej Vydra down.

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And defender Kevin Long netted from close range to wrap things up late on after Rodriguez had cushioned Vydra's header into the defender's path.

Burnley's English defender James Tarkowski (L) and Burnley's Irish defender Kevin Long (R) tackle Fulham's French striker Aboubakar Kamara (C) during the English FA Cup fourth round football match at Craven Cottage in west London on January 24, 2021.

The Clarets will now host either AFC Bournemouth or Crawley Town at Turf Moor in the next round of the competition.

Here are the talking points.

SELECTION DILEMMA

There has been plenty of debate in recent weeks over which pairing would be best suited to lead the line for Burnley.

Dwight McNeil of Burnley looks to break past Josh Onomah of Fulham during The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Fulham and Burnley at Craven Cottage on January 24, 2021 in London, England.

Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes, Jay Rodriguez and Matej Vydra, or a combination of those two most recognised partnerships have all been suggested.

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The former have been the 'double-helix' in Burnley's DNA ever since their game-changing display against West Ham United in March 2018.

Their record together speaks for itself and their effectiveness in a 4-4-2 should never be questioned, even if they have hit a bit of a lull this term.

Even then, the five goals scored between them in 12 starts together in the Premier League has brought an 11-point return.

Burnley FC goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell
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Dyche has experimented with his front-line in the past, whether the transformation has been enforced or the result of a tactical tweak.

The blend of Barnes/Rodriguez, Barnes/Vydra or Wood/Vydra is as rare as they come, but there is clear evidence that other duets have worked.

Rodriguez added to the debate with a brace in Burnley's victory over the Cottagers on Sunday afternoon.

His movement to get beyond Michael Hector, after offloading the ball to Jack Cork on the right hand side, was magnificent, and the finish was just as impressive.

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It was the striker's first goal in 20 appearances, dating back to when he netted the equaliser against the Premier League champions at Anfield last season.

The one-time England international went on to grab another from the spot in the second half and then laid on the away side's third for Kevin Long.

Incredibly, that was the first time since Boxing Day 2013, in a game between Southampton and Cardiff City, that Rodriguez had been directly involved in three goals in a single game.

"That was a really big moment in my career to give me the belief," he said.

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“I’ve never stopped wanting to learn and I’m continuing that now. To come back here and score two is very pleasing."

Rodriguez, who scored his first senior goal for the Clarets against Fulham in 2008, has always shown a willingness to collaborate with different types of forwards.

Ade Akinbiyi took him under his wing as a teenager during Owen Coyle's reign and he went on to play alongside the likes of Steven Thompson, Martin Paterson, Chris Iwelumo and Charlie Austin.

And the 31-year-old has had similar success in his second spell. He and Vydra clocked up 11 points and four goals in six starts together last term.

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Their time together has been limited again this season, but there have been encouraging signs during their cameos from the bench.

Rodriguez also boasts a fine record alongside Wood. Their alliance brought eight goals in 12 starts with 16 points accrued during 2019/20, which included the 2-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford.

This season has been just as fruitful with eight points tabled from their five starts together.

Whatever Dyche's decision moving forward, Rodriguez is knocking on the door. Another display like that in Fulham, and he'll soon be hammering it down.

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"I don't worry about the criticism, it's a part of the job," said Dyche. "The strikers are aware of that. I've said all along that I believe in them and I thought the two today were very good.

"I thought their work rate, endeavour, their hold up play and their cleverness was on show. When you've got four active strikers like we have then that's pleasing for a manager and a group of players.

"They've put down reminders that you need as a manager. All you can ask from players that haven't played in so long is for them to deliver. They keep knocking on the door with their performance levels."

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

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The fact that Sean Dyche made nine changes for Burnley's trip to Fulham, and was left purring about the performance, gives a clear indication that the squad is beginning to pack a punch once again.

Only James Tarkowski and Dwight McNeil survived the historic win over Liverpool in Merseyside midweek, but the changes didn't appear to cause any disruption to Burnley's momentum.

The visitors excelled from start to finish on their way to a ninth clean sheet of the season in all competitions - coming out on top in interceptions, recoveries and tackle success rate.

Burnley's shot accuracy was also superior, they registered the most shots on goal, with six of the 16 attempts on target, while totting up the most passes in the opposition's third.

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"It was a collective," said Dyche. "The attitude towards the game and the performance was excellent. The energy from the side was as good as I've seen on a very tricky pitch.

"Since the group has started coming back together it's continued to grow and they were some very good individual performances.

"There were a lot of good signs today and the collective mentality was top drawer. I couldn't put a mark on any individual because I thought everyone was excellent."

The Clarets scored three goals in a game for the first time in 11 months, having previously eased past AFC Bournemouth at Turf Moor in the Premier League.

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And they hadn't notched up that many goals on the road since overcoming Watford at Vicarage Road in November 2019.

With the group replenished in both quantity and quality, could the Clarets push towards only a second FA Cup quarter-final in the past 37 years?

After all, they have just beaten top-flight opponents away from home in the competition for the first time in 21 years.

Anything can happen and, given all he's achieved at the club, you'd back Dyche to do it.

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He said: "That marvel of the FA Cup is still there, it's just changed due to the power of the Premier League and what that brings to clubs.

"It still feels great to win these games so you certainly put out a side that you feel could win. Our intention is to win as many games as we can."

HE'S A KEEPER

Sean Dyche led the applause for Bailey Peacock-Farrell following the goalkeeper's display at Craven Cottage.

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The 24-year-old was visibly crushed after conceding five on his Premier League debut in November as Riyad Mahrez led Manchester City's onslaught.

Nick Pope and Joe Hart had endured similar treatment on previous visits to the Etihad Stadium, but the Northern Ireland international would have been desperate to make an impression on such a big occasion.

The former Leeds United stopper didn't necessarily do a great deal wrong, but that game would have been hanging over his head ever since.

He'll have been dreaming about the day he would get the opportunity to put that baptism of fire behind him.

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That chance came against the Cottagers, and he grabbed it with both hands.

Peacock-Farrell has a promising future in the game having already built up an impressive resume on both domestic and international platforms.

He made an outstanding save at full stretch to deny Joe Bryan in the first half before denying Aleksandar Mitrovic on two occasions in the same passage of play.

That was the self-administered medicine that the young goalkeeper had been craving, but his best was yet to come.

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The home side had threatened a route back into the game at 2-0 when Ruben Loftus-Cheek sent Aboubakar Kamara clear.

The Frenchman opened fire, Peacock-Farrell got a strong hand to the effort, taking the sting out of the shot, before James Tarkowski cleared off the line.

"He was very good," said Dyche. "He did the basics well, he was assured in his kicking and in his general decision making.

"I thought we had control of a lot of the game, but Bailey has made some fantastic saves as well.

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"We believe in Bailey, we like what he's doing, it was a big ask for him in his last game against Man City so I'm delighted for him."