Clarets look to retain squad for play-off push
Boss Sean Dyche has re-iterated that star striker Charlie Austin does not have a ‘for sale’ sign hanging round his neck as he closes in on a return to action.
With a week of the transfer window to go and Scottish champions Celtic suggesting that Austin might become a target if they accept a bid for Gary Hooper, Dyche stressed that Burnley intend to hold onto their 23-goal talisman.
“The board made it clear at the AGM that they were not thinking of selling Charlie and that hasn’t changed to my knowledge,” said the Burnley manager.
“I was with the board on Monday so it’s pretty recent that hasn’t changed.
“He won’t be sold unless it’s ridiculous – and the board will have a figure that they deem as ridiculous – because we value him, as we do all the players here.
“He is a goalscorer. He is going well and so are we.
“He has had a minor injury but we are hoping he is back sooner rather than later.
“The board have made it clear they want to keep the squad together the best they can and see where that takes us this season.”
Not for sale
A run of four wins in five Championship games has propelled the Clarets to the fringe of the play-off places and their challenge could be further reinforced by the possible return of Austin against Birmingham City at Turf Moor on Saturday.
The 23-year-old has been out of action for almost a month with a hamstring injury but has returned to training to put himself in the frame to face the struggling Blues.
“He has had a good few days training, but whether he is right enough for us to put him in or put him on the bench, whatever we decide to do with the squad, we will wait and see,” added Dyche.
Defender Michael Duff is described as ‘touch and go’ to return after missing last Saturday’s win at Millwall with a hamstring injury.
And while Ben Mee has resumed training he isn’t expected to figure at the weekend after being out of action since the start of December.
But central defender Kevin Long will return to the squad after an ankle injury forced him to miss the trip to the Den, where the Clarets recorded a third successive win without conceding a goal.