Clarets pair fighting to be fit for Saturday's trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Ashley Westwood and Charlie Taylor are ‘touch and go’ for tomorrow’s trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, says Burnley boss Sean Dyche.
Westwood missed the 2-0 defeat against Crystal Palace at Turf Moor through suspension after collecting his fifth booking of the campaign at Vicarage Road and then sat out the midweek reverse against Manchester City with a slight groin strain.
Taylor, meanwhile, lasted 36 minutes at home to the Eagles having sustained a groin injury. The full-back, replaced by summer signing Erik Pieters, was then sidelined for the 4-1 loss against Pep Guardiola’s defending Premier League champions.
“Charlie Taylor is a hamstring and is a maybe for the weekend,” said Dyche. “Westy is his groin and he has a chance for the weekend by protecting him tonight.
“Barnesy is more of an ongoing thing and he did great to get out there at the weekend but it looked like it affected him so we had to protect him for tonight. It is one of those things and it has all come at once unfortunately.”
Dyche has been highly impressed with the way Westwood has shaped his game to enhance Burnley’s approach.
The former Aston Villa midfielder, who likened himself to Michael Carrick when arriving at the club on deadline day in January 2017, has added many new layers to his game.
The 29-year-old hasn’t looked back since breaking in to the side away at Newcastle exactly a year after his switch from Villa Park.
Last season’s Player of the Year, who picked up the accolade from both his team-mates and supporters, has now made 62 starts for the Clarets in the Premier League.
“He’s done really well,” Dyche said. “He came here from Villa with a little bit of baggage from there.
“I think he had a few knocks and the crowd had a bit of a nibble at him, but he came here and has developed into the team and that’s a key thing.
“More and more he sees the picture that we are seeing and the players around him are seeing and that’s helped him to perform.
“He deserves a lot of credit. He’s really opened his mind up to his game and I think he has improved, and I like that.
“No matter what age, it’s not relevant to me, I believe that any player can improve and it’s just what kind of improvement.
“It can be diet, strength and conditioning it could be tactical or technical I like to see players improving and he has definitely been a sign of that.”
Dyche added: “We have worked with him as well. I don’t think we over-coach players here, but we give them enough guidance to know how they can change and operate in a slightly different manner.
“He has taken that on and part of it is always self-learning, are they learning as they are doing it and as they are playing, and he is another sign of players who are doing that.
“He’s done well, last season particularly, but he’s started this season very well. He has a good connection with the side and how we operate and he has a good connection with Corky as well.
“We’ll see what effect he has coming back in, should he be fit, because we like what he’s doing and he deserves some of the plaudits he gets.”
Should Westwood miss out at Spurs then Dyche may decide to hand Chelsea loan man Danny Drinkwater a second league start.
The former Leicester City midfielder, who won the title with the Foxes during his time at the King Power Stadium, got some minutes in the tank midweek.
Drinkwater survived just short of an hour against City and was replaced by Ashley Barnes as the Clarets shifted to a 4-4-2.
“Any player – not just Drinky – when you join a club you’ve got to forge a way in and it’s not easy,” said Dyche.
“It’s not an easy thing to do and Drinky knows that, he knows he’s got to earn the right here, he knows the players that we’ve got, he’s seen them at close quarters now. Any player in a group has to earn the right and he is working to do that.
“He is good around the place, his sharpness is nearly there. You can’t get truly sharp without playing, as in real games, but he has certainly put enough energy and effort into performances into the reserve games.
“He is around the group and he knows the demands of it. We have a lot of players who have been here a while who we trust and he has to forge his way into that.
“He stuck at it (against City) and we know he needs football, everyone knows he needs football. I think he has had 21 months since he last started a game (in the Premier League).
“We weren’t expecting him to run the show by any means but he does need football and how do you get him football unless he plays.”