'Whatever is available to us we'll just roll out and get on with it' - Burnley down to bare bones admits assistant boss Ian Woan

Burnley are down to the bare bones for their FA Cup clash against Huddersfield Town at Turf Moor.

Thursday, 6th January 2022, 2:31 pm
Ian Woan with Sean Dyche

But assistant boss Ian Woan insists the club won't push for a postponement, and will put out whatever team they can in the circumstances.

Woan, takiong press duties for the first time in the absence of Sean Dyche, who tested positive for Covid on Tuesday, revealed that he took training with 16 players today, while first team coach Steve Stone also has Covid, and the club are without two analysts, two physios and the kit man.

There are fresh cases among the players, and of those 16 training, Connor Roberts and Ashey Barnes are not expected to be risked against the Terriers.

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Premier League clubs have reportedly been told they must field fulfil their cup fixtures this weekend, even if they have to use Academy players.

Premier League games can be called off if a club can prove they don't have 13 outfield players plus one goalkeeper available from their 25-man senior squad plus 'appropriately experienced Under-21s' - players who have been used as a starter or substitute in a first-team competition this season.

However, the FA Cup doesn't take that criteria of experience for young players into account, so any available players can be used.

Woan admits it has been a strange day without his long-time sparring partner Dyche: "You can imagine how he is being a patient...he'll be bouncing off the walls, I'd have thought, but I've been in constant dialogue with him, spoke to him 10 minutes ago, so he will have an impact on team selection obviously, we'll have a good chat about that when the lates round of tests come in.

"I don't know what sort of involvement he can have on Saturday, whether he can stream the game, but I'll be susprised if there's not a phone call at half-time, shall we say.

"I'm amazed he's not walking through these doors now, we've been together 10 years, a year at Watford, he never missed a game, and nine and a half years here, he's not missed a game - I've missed one through Covid - but it's the first time he won't be at the side of the pitch. Not a bad record is it!

"It's quiet! It will be odd, Steve Stone won't be here either, he's tested positive, so we'll be a couple down on the bench, I was a bit lonely in the office this morning...

"Billy Mercer is a bit under the weather, but he's fine at the moment, I was sitting having breakfast on my own this morning!

"It is different, the gaffer is a huge presence, his stature around the club is huge. You usually hear him before you see him, so it is a big difference."

Woan had to rope in Under 23s coach Michael Jackson to assist with training: "We've lost two analysts, the kit man isn't here, two physios down, so we're a little bit down to the bare bones, but you just do what you have to do.

"We've trained with 16 of the players, Michael Jackson came over from the Under 23s to help me out.

"We do what Burnley do, we get it done, we don't make excuses.

"The 16 includes Connor Roberts, who is back on the grass for the first time this week - he's had a bit of a tough time over four or five weeks.

"We have a number of cases, so it's difficult picking a team, we'll have another round of testing tomorrow, so the team won't be confirmed until tomorrow afternoon.

"It's a real unique situation, and difficult to plan. Two or three might not be with you.

"But we're a no excuse environment, and that stems from the gaffer, it's just not the way we're made, we're not going to pull out of any games if we have the numbers to do it, there's no discussion, so I'm sure if we have the numbers, the game will go ahead."

Nick Pope has missed the last two games with Covid and is again doubtful, although Josh Brownhill could return.

However, Johann Berg Gudmundsson could miss out, while Maxwel Cornet is at the African Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast: "Pope didn't train with us today, Brownhill is a possibility, but there are still a number of other players out.

"We've had four or five new cases, no names.

"Ashley (Barnes) has been back on the grass, he's ahead of the curve and looks strong, you have to put the reins on him because he's so eager to get back, he can be his own worst enemy, he pushes himself so hard, but he seems in a good place. He's still a few weeks away.

"There's a question mark over Gudmundsson as well, he's probably 50/50. Whatever is available to us we'll just roll out and get on with it.

"Connor probably needs a full week on the grass before being considered, but he will be a real good asset to us, he gives us that energy, willingness to run forward and we're enjoying what we're seeing from him.

"Maxwel will be a miss. He has hit the ground so quick, you just hope he impacts the rest of the squad, Dwight, Aaron, Johann, pulls them along. He's been a breath of fresh air, a great character - he's had a real positive impact."