Sean Dyche believes Joey Barton can be an “important part” of the Clarets’ squad after signing on again at Turf Moor.
Barton has agreed a deal until the end of the season and was registered as a Burnley player for a second time when the January transfer window opened.
The vastly experienced midfielder played a key role in the Clarets’ promotion success last season when he was named by the supporters as Burnley’s Player of the Year.
And Dyche has welcomed back the 34-year-old - who has taken squad number 19 - after his stay with Glasgow Rangers was curtailed in November.
Joey Barton started 37 games as Burnley won the Championship title last season
"He has shown that he wants to be part of it again. There are no guarantees of how much part he plays but he's in the pack,” said the Burnley boss, who invited Barton back to train with his former team-mates before confirming his place in his plans for the second half of the Premier League season.
"It's a different level of football and he's got to earn the right to get a game first.
"He'll be well aware of that. The team is certainly going well enough on its own at the moment.
"But we feel he can be an important part of the squad.
"We know what we have learned over the last few years, that you do need a certain depth to the squad.
"We certainly haven't got the deepest squad by any means, certainly not in the Premier League, but you do need that depth and you need competition within your group."
Barton is available to play at Sunderland in the FA Cup third-round on Saturday, having completed a one-match ban, handed down by the Scottish FA for betting offences while playing for Rangers, when Burnley played Manchester City on 2 January.
Dyche has yet to finalise his plans for the tie at the Stadium of Light against the Clarets’ top-flight rivals.
But he is contemplating changes to give some game-time to players who have not had regular first-team action so far this season.
"There's a possibility of changes because I think we've got a deeper squad now and I think there are players who right on the cusp of getting a shirt,” Dyche added.
"It's a good chance to see if they are right on the cusp and to see if they can perform and to keep them right for the challenges that come next.
"There's no thought other than to win a game. Within that, I think there's a group here which can win football matches, whoever we play, for whatever reason. I think there's a belief in the squad here now."
As a former FA Cup semi-finalist with underdogs Chesterfield, Dyche has always held the competition in high esteem.
Andre Gray scored a hat-trick as Burnley beat Sunderland 4-1 in the league on Boxing Day
He is keen to launch another run with victory on Wearside as Burnley chase a first away win of the season.
But the Clarets’ chief also has to keep one eye on maintaining his side’s Premier League progress after guiding last season’s Championship winners to 12th place in the table with 20 games gone.
"I have had a great time in the FA Cup through my years of playing,” said Dyche.
"From an emotional point of view it ranks very highly. From a factual, business point of view it doesn't rank as highly as being in the Premier League.
"Business-wise it doesn't mean as much as being in the Premier League. Everyone knows that, it's not a hidden fact.
"But glory of it, the emotion of it, the excitement of having a cup run, is there for all to see every season, so we want to work hard to be part of that."