Injury update ahead of Burnley's Premier League clash at Everton
Burnley aim to sign off ahead of the last quarter of the season with another step towards survival at Goodison Park on Saturday evening.
And when the Clarets return to Premier League action at Southampton in three weeks, after the FA Cup quarter-finals and international break, boss Sean Dyche hopes to have a fully-fit squad to select from for the first time in recent memory.
Dyche is again set to be without striker Ashley Barnes (thigh), while Charlie Taylor (hamstring) and Jack Cork are doubtful.
Dyche said: “Charlie Taylor will probably miss out.
“Barnesy – not yet, and Jack Cork probably not.
“Johann (Berg Gudmundsson) obviously came through against Arsenal, and Robbie Brady, we have been monitoring his workload, and we will have to see as he has been ill, not Covid, he’s just had a couple of days off with illness.”
Having crammed in 16 games in 46 days from the FA Cup win over MK Dons at the turn of the year, Burnley will be inactive for three weeks, having had to fit in a rescheduled game with Fulham, postponed due to the Cottagers’ coronavirus outbreak, and move forward their home clash with Leicester City, who are in the last eight of the FA Cup.
Dyche is somewhat bemused by the scheduling, but at least has time to rest his squad for the final nine games of the season. He said: “This run of games has tallied up with a lot of injuries as well – it’s been a nightmare for us.
“We hope this period after Everton gives us a chance to get them all fit again.
“We’ve then got tot take on the rest of the season, as we do, but overall I think we’ve done well to come through a really tough period of injuries and a tough games schedule.
“Hopefully we can get a good result against Everton and take it on from there, hopefully with a fitter squad.”
And he praised his players’ mentality for ploughing on in this most testing of seasons: “People don’t realise, this schedule, compared to a normal Premier League January/February/March, it is way different, there has been a lot of demand on the players, and
also the games run we’ve had – even the games we’ve had, you can say we’ve dipped a bit at times, but we’ve played Tottenham and Chelsea away, Man City, Arsenal, Leicester, some of the clubs who are well fancied.
“There has been a tough game schedule and some tough games against top opposition, and you throw in a load of injuries... overall we’ve got to be not too greedy.
“We want more, of course, better results and bigger performances, but you have to have a bit of balance.”
While Manchester City’s strength in depth has shone through, every club has been impacted by injuries due to the condensed season, including defending champions Liverpool.
Every senior outfield player at Burnley – and goalkeepers Nick Pope and Bailey Peacock-Farrell – have missed at least one game through injury, and Dyche added: “There are squads that are obviously bigger that ours, and some of those squads are incredibly deep in the quality of player as well.
“It is a challenge for everyone. There is a difference for injuries across the board this season, some have been hit harder than others.”