Clarets look to launch cup run against Championship rivals
Boss Sean Dyche is eyeing another FA Cup run as he prepares to lead the Clarets into cup battle for the first time.
Burnley kick off their campaign at Championship rivals Barnsley on Saturday with Dyche still passionate about a competition in which he twice reached the semi-finals as a player.
The former defender was part of the Watford squad which knocked the Clarets out in the last eight in 2003 and in 1997 almost helped Chesterfield to one of the Cup’s great shocks when the League One side took Middlesbrough to a semi-final replay.
“I still consider it an important part of the fabric of English football and I think so many do,” said Dyche, who scored a penalty against Boro at Old Trafford in a tie famous for a Chesterfield ‘goal’ that wasn’t when the underdogs led 2-1.
“Unfortunately we didn’t make it to the final. Things were probably taken slightly out of our hands on the day with a big decision that went against us.
“But to be part of that run in a very good group of players at a small club and put a marker down in the history of the FA Cup was a great achievement by the whole club and the fans.
“Times have changed and the game is different. The financial side of the game is radically different but the one thing you learn is that you can achieve what you wish to achieve.
“It’s not that easy, but it was a good message to show that things can be done and never more so than in a cup competition because of the random chance of playing one-off situations.”
The Clarets will start Saturday’s third-round tie at Oakwell as marginal bookies’ favourites with Barnsley struggling at the foot of the Championship and without a manager since sacking Keith Hill at the end of December.
The Tykes, likely to be led by caretaker-boss David Flitcroft, have won only one of their last 15 games.
And despite a number of injury concerns, Dyche will be looking to his side to pick up where they left off in winning at Sheffield Wednesday on New Year’s Day as Burnley bid to book their place in Sunday’s fourth-round draw.
“We were very happy with the performance (at Hillsborough),” Dyche added.
“The players should be, but the next one comes round quickly and we want to build that winning mentality.
“The best way of building that is, obviously, by winning games, so it’s another important game for different reasons and one in which we will be searching to get another win.
“We want to progress in any competition, on the league basis weekly and in cups on a one-off basis.
“And that’s what it is, a one-off basis and you have to be ready.”
Dyche will need to make fitness checks on a number of players but does have the option of adding Dane Richards to his squad after international clearance was received in time for the winger to be eligible to play.