PA Sport

Dyche braced for testing spell as understrength Burnley battle on two fronts

Dyche braced for testing spell as understrength Burnley battle on two fronts
By PA Sport

11/08/2018 at 12:07Updated 11/08/2018 at 14:24

The Clarets travelled back from Istanbul in the early hours of Friday.

Sean Dyche admits Burnley will have to “dig in” over the first few weeks of the season as they try to balance the demands of two competitions and injury problems.

The Clarets take on Southampton at St Mary’s on Sunday having already played three Europa League matches and with the second leg of their third-qualifying-round match against Istanbul Basaksehir to come on Thursday.

Dyche selected a side for the goalless draw in Turkey last week partly with Sunday’s clash in mind, but his hopes of being able to juggle players have been hampered by a number of injury issues and a difficult transfer window.

He was only able to name six substitutes, with Chris Wood, Robbie Brady, Steven Defour, Nick Pope, Tom Heaton and new signing Matej Vydra all unavailable.

Striker Wood and keeper Heaton should be available against Saints but Brady and Vydra will be given some game time in an under-23 match on Monday as they build up their fitness while Defour and Pope will be sidelined for longer.

Dyche said on “We’ve just hit a period where we are a bit diluted with players. They are getting fit, but we are going to have to dig in for the next few weeks until the players start getting back to full fitness.

“This early part is going to be about that; getting players fit and doing the best with the players available, then hopefully getting stronger.”

Burnley flew back from Istanbul straight after the game on Thursday and were on their travels again on Saturday afternoon to prepare for their Premier League opener.

Dyche said: “That’s the new challenge for all of us. People will judge the effects of the (Europa League) in time, but now is not the time because of the diluted group we’ve got available through injuries and fitness levels.

“It is what it is, though. The fans wanted us to be in the Europa League, and we certainly did, and we’ve earned the right to be here, so you take on the challenges that it presents.

“The team are well prepared for it by travelling by private jet, so we have moved forward as a club in that respect. I don’t over-think it, because they are super-fit lads.”