Clarets boss Sean Dyche is honest enough to admit he will use tomorrow’s FA Cup fourth round tie at Manchester City for selfish reasons.
While not looking to diminish the magic of the cup, Dyche will look to give players some much-needed game time, with staying in the Premier League the priority.
Dyche is expected to give Nick Pope, Stephen Ward and Steven Defour starts, as they step up their return from lengthy injury problems, while Robbie Brady is also expected to return after a three-match suspension.
He made eight changes for the third round win at home to Barnsley, and there could be as many, if not more, at the Etihad.
Dyche expects Manchester City to be strong, even if they change their entire starting line-up, but while he would love to pull off what would be one of the shocks of the round, he knows there is a bigger picture: “We will have to be quite greedy with the game and use it for our reasons, almost beyond the fact that it is an important FA Cup game.
“The bigger picture for us is the Premier League, and we have suffered with injuries, and that might be an important game to get game time into them, while still believing in a side that can go and win.
“It is the marvel of the FA Cup – who knows?”
Asked about that comment, of the marvel of the cup, Dyche insists he isn’t taking the competition lightly.
He famously helped Chesterfield, then in the third tier, reach the semi-final in 1997, scoring from the spot in an epic clash with Middlesbrough at Old Trafford, before the Spireites lost the replay.
And Dyche said: “It’s not tongue in cheek, I’ve been through it myself with Chesterfield, written off by everyone, and got to a semi-final.
“Who knows at Manchester City? You know you’ve got to play well - they’ve got to field a different team, they might have a bad day, the officials might go with you, but the fact is, strange results can happen.
“No one can put their finger on it, year after year, but the cup changes teams and mentalities. But we will need all those things, because they are an absolute top side and they can change all 11 and still put out a team of worldwide stars.”