Ward ruled out of Palace game with hamstring injury
Left back Stephen Ward has been ruled out of Saturday's visit of Crystal Palace with a hamstring injury.
And Ward is likely to have to pull out of the Republic of Ireland’s provisional squad for the World Cup qualifier with Austria next week, having been selected on Wednesday, along with Burnley teammate Jeff Hendrick.
Ward came off just before half-time in the goal-less draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday, having shaken off a knock whoch forced him off late on the previous Saturday in the 2-1 win over Everton at Turf Moor.
However, Belgium midfielder Steven Defour is available, having missed the trip to United as a precaution, having only returned to full training last Tuesday, following a hamstring strain picked up in the 3-1 reverse at Southampton.
Boss Sean Dyche explained: “We don’t think Wardy has a chance for this weekend.
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“But he’s a good healer, and the good side of it is we have the international break coming at a good time to allow him chance to be available sooner rather than later.”
Asked about his chances of linking up with Ireland, Dyche added: “I doubt he will go away. It will be a miracle if he’s fit for this weekend.”
Jon Flanagan came on for Ward against Everton and United, for his first taste of Premier League football since his summer loan move from Liverpoool, so Dyche has a ready-made replacement: “He’s been with us long enough to know what we’re about, and he’s definitely in the thinking.
“He came on last week in a tough game and did well, and the week before, even though it was only four minutes, it was hard for a defender to come on, and he handled it well.
“He’s had to be patient, but he’s been good around the place, he’s enjoying the environment, and wants to play, like anyone else.
“He’s been very good, very professional, and is still earning his spurs, learning as he goes.
“He’s only 23, and has 40 Premier League appearances for Liverpool, so hopefully he adapts well to what we need.”
Flanagan is a sign of Burnley’s improved options this time around in the Premier League: “The point of trying to get a balanced squad was to have all bases covered, to have two players for every position, and for our level of the market, I think we’ve managed to do that quite well.”
Defour last featured three weeks ago on the south coast, missing the win over Everton, and was rated “touch and go” last weekend.
But Dyche didn’t feel it was a risk worth taking, and that patience appears to have paid off, as he said: “He’s been fine, he’s joined in with full training again all week.
“Last weekend he might have made it, but it was a big risk, and we’re pleased with the decision we made as he’s in better shape this week.”
Defour has been a key performer so far this season, and Dyche added: “We’ve enjoyed what he’s offered us so far, and we want him to continue with that.”