Sean Dyche reflects on his last visit to Cardiff, as Burnley manager-in-waitingSean Dyche heads back to Cardiff three years on from his appointment at Burnley, insisting his team having taken a “big shift forward”.
Dyche was an interested observer on the verge of being appointed as Eddie Howe’s successor when the Clarets slumped 4-0 at the Cardiff City Stadium in late October, 2012.
Only defender Michael Duff and fit-again midfielder Dean Marney remain at Turf Moor from the side that started that day in the Welsh capital, while striker Sam Vokes and defender Danny Lafferty were among the substitutes.
Burnley players during the 4-0 defeat at Cardiff three years ago
Dyche mused: “A lot has changed thankfully since then, for us. It was my first real look at the side and I think it was quite obvious on that day back what needed changing.
“I think generally it’s fair to say we have taken a big shift forward!”
Three years on, and with the experience of a Premier League campaign, Burnley are among the front-runners looking to make an immediate return, on the back of an eight-game unbeaten run.
And with Marney back on the bench for the first time since February in last weekend’s home draw with fellow high-flyers Brighton and Hove Albion, Dyche admits he is happy with his lot!
The Clarets bench shows strength in depth, with vast outfield experience in the form of Matt Taylor, Republic of Ireland international Stephen Ward, wide man Michael Kightly and summer signing from Aston Villa Matt Lowton.
And Dyche believes it is a signal of intent that Marney – a virtual ever-present before his cruciate injury – is having to be patient to work his way back into the starting line-up.
The gaffer added: “We have already seen the impact that some of the substitutions have had, when called upon.
“That’s a vital factor if you want to be successful in football and it’s great to see there’s a great, collective mentality.
“Dean is back in there now, but it’s only a window to getting involved and it doesn’t guarantee the next step.
Dean Marney and Michael Kightly warm-up v Brighton last weekend
“He has been out a while. He is getting a lot closer though and, if called up on now, I think he feels he is a level that’s he can at least perform and that’s a key thing.
“Dean can only support what we have at the moment and fight for his chance to start again, along with many of the others.
“They are all fantastic professionals who give a lot to what we are and what we do – and they just have to be ready now!”
City currently lie ninth in the Championship having, like the Clarets, only lost once on home territory this season. And Dyche expect a tough test for his troops.
He said: “Looking at their squad on paper they have some really good players, some of who have been there for a long time.
“They’ve certainly got good experience and it seems they’ve had good home form and been a bit up and down away from home.
“That’s probably what a Championship season is about and we’ve had our own share of that.
“I’ve seen them a couple of times and they are decent side, but I could say that virtually every week.
“They certainly have strength in depth and it’s whether they have strength on the day.
"We have to show our own strength with a good performance to get what we all what, which is three points.”
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