Burnley boss Sean Dyche ready to welcome back Olympian Chris Wood

Burnley boss Sean Dyche is ready to welcome back leading scorer Chris Wood.

Saturday, 31st July 2021, 5:06 pm
Updated Saturday, 31st July 2021, 5:08 pm
New Zealand's forward Chris Wood controls the ball during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games men's quarter-final football match between Japan and New Zealand at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium in Kashima city, Ibaraki prefecture on July 31, 2021.

The club's all-time leading Premier League goalscorer hasn't been available for selection in pre-season.

That's because the 29-year-old ex-Leeds United forward has been away making history with New Zealand at the Olympics.

Wood captained the Kiwis as they took four points from games against South Korea, Honduras and Romania to finish second in Group B.

Chris Wood #9 of Team New Zealand competes for a header with Takehiro Tomiyasu #14 of Team Japan during the Men's Quarter Final match between Japan and New Zealand on day eight of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kashima Stadium on July 31, 2021 in Kashima, Ibaraki, Japan.

Burnley s Player of the Year then scored his spot kick in the shootout against hosts Japan in the quarter-final.

However, his dreams of winning a medal at the Games in Tokyo came to an end as the OlyWhites lost 4-2 on penalties.

Dyche said: “Woody is coming back – unfortunately for Woody.

“It’s shame for him and for them but good for us, in a way.

Chris Wood #9 of Team New Zealand celebrates with teammate Liberato Cacace #3 after scoring their side's second goal against Honduras on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium on July 25, 2021 in Kashima, Ibaraki, Japan.

“He comes back and will be able to re-acclimate and get a bit of recovery before he joins in with us."

The Clarets chief was delighted to get through a fifth pre-season fixture unscathed.

And he re-affirmed that the ambition is to add to his injury-free squad with a month of the window remaining.

Lyon's Maxwel Cornet and Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who was on loan at West Brom last term, remain top targets.

"We are still in the market to support the group where we can but when we’re fit and well I’ve always said it, I think we’ve got a good outfit," said Dyche.

“There are a couple of games coming up so we will see how the squad looks after that.

“I am pretty pleased and the main thing is – so far – we are injury-free.

“Everyone is fit and well at the moment and long may that continue, of course.

“Then if we can reinforce the squad as well, we’d like to think we are growing into pre-season so that when the real stuff starts we’re ready."

The Clarets made it five from five in pre-season when overturning a deficit to beat Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park.

Nat Knight-Percival had given Micky Mellon's men the lead early in the second half.

But Dwight McNeil scored a stunning winner late on after Ashley Barnes had restored parity with 20 minutes remaining.

“It was a great finish from Dwight," Dyche said. “He is looking sharp and fit and there’s a nice edge to them.

“They have come back fit and well.

“I’m really pleased overall and I’m pleased we took this game on. It’s a shame about the Forest one but I think this was the right game the way it went and the way Tranmere went about it."

He added: “It was a real proper game, so I was pleased with it.

“They are a decent outfit and pushed us hard, which was good for us so we feel like we benefited from this.

“That’s maybe a thing that comes during pre-season – that sharpness around the box – because it could have been a more comfortable performance, as regards goals.

“But I thought the general performance – forgetting about the goals – was good. I liked the tempo about the play, the energy and I thought there was a nice edge to it, so I was pleased overall."