Wingers doubtful for Burnley’s festive trip to Leeds United

Sean Dyche has his fingers crossed wide men Robbie Brady and Dwight McNeil will be available for Sunday's trip to Elland Road to face Leeds United (kick-off noon).

Wednesday, 23rd December 2020, 4:32 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd December 2020, 4:36 pm
Dwight McNeil, left

Both players came off in Monday's 2-1 win at home to Wolves, Brady after tweaking his hamstring crossing for Ashley Barnes, and McNeil with a groin problem which troubled him in the first half.

With Johann Berg Gudmundsson still not ready for a first team return, Dyche could potentially be without all his natural wide players for a first Premier League meeting with Leeds.

McNeil has made 70-successive Premier League appearances, 69 as a starter, but that run could be under threat, and Dyche said: “We’re waiting on news on Dwight and Robbie, Robbie we’re hopeful on, and possibly Dwight as well, we’ll wait and see with them, but we’re not thinking at this stage they’re long term.

"Robbie we got off straight away (against Wolves).

"He felt a tweak in his hamstring, which he had a couple of weeks ago.

"Dwight said his groin was tight in the first half, but that he would be fine to get through it, but in the end he had to come off.

"It is not ideal with Johann still recovering.

"We will just have to wait and see if they are ready."

Matej Vydra didn't make the 20-man squad, and Dyche explained after the game: "He tweaked his back in training.

"It is nothing too serious but he wasn't ready."

And he said on Wednesday: “Vyds has tweaked a muscle in his back and there is something there but not too serious.

"We will have to wait over the next 48 hours to see whether he will be involved.”

Dale Stephens was back on the bench after a hamstring injury, and Jack Cork got some more gametime for the Under 23s on Wednesday, and Dyche said: “Corky is making good progress, I’ve just been out there watching the game in brutal conditions, but he came through really well.

“He still needs a bit more football, but that’s good for him, and Johann was out there as well getting more minutes in, which is a good sign.

“A couple of the other lads played just to top up their fitness.”

Losing Brady or McNeil, or both, would be a huge blow for a side who have begun to look much more like themselves, losing only once in seven games to climb out of the bottom three, up to 16th.

Dyche isn't one to get concerned by Burnley's position until the end of the season, but is pleased to be edging away from the wrong end of the table: "I don't stare at the table, it's the end of the season when it counts, that's always been my point.

"Of course you know where you are, you want to be in a healthy position and we're beginning to earn the right.

"I did say our squad has been stretched for a long time, and we've got players back fit, and I know there's no guarantee, but it gives you a better chance.

"We've got key players and players who have done really well here fit, and truly match fit, and we're getting there.

"If you have your players fit and active, it gives you a better chance."

Burnley produced one of their best displays of the season to beat Wolves, and their energy will have to be replicated against a Leeds side who are similarly relentless under Marcelo Bielsa: "You need that intensity against every side, it's not just about them (Leeds), it's about every side.

"You've got to take the game on. You often try to, but sometimes the other team are very good and whatever your game plan is, they find a way of operating.

"They have an interesting format to play against, so we'll see what happens."