Sean Dyche is considering a shift in personnel for the Clarets’ FA Cup clash against Sunderland.
But whoever gets the nod to line up in the third-round replay at Turf Moor tonight, Dyche will back them to do the job and set up a visit from either Bristol City or Fleetwood Town in the last 32.
The Burnley boss made six changes to his starting line-up for the goalless draw on Wearside, which set up a third meeting in less than three weeks between the Premier League rivals.
But three of those coming into the side that day were full internationals in the shape of Sam Vokes, Steven Defour and Joey Barton, while a fourth – Jeff Hendrick – came off the bench as the Clarets pressed for a late winner.
And Dyche insists the quality at his disposal at Turf Moor these days means he can ring the changes and still send out a team good enough to have every chance of extending the Clarets’ remarkable home run.
“The whole point of us building a squad, a stronger squad, is to use it,” said Dyche, who guided Burnley to a fourth successive home Premier League win against Southampton last Saturday and a place in the top half of the table.
“I think we’ve got some very good players here. You look at the changes we made at Sunderland and we were still productive.
“I’m not thinking we’re dis-respecting the FA Cup or anyone else. We will be trying to win a game, without a shadow of a doubt. That’s what our focus is. We still put out a strong side.”
The other changes to the Clarets’ starting XI at the Stadium of Light nine days ago saw Nick Pope get an opportunity and goal and, in front of him, defenders Tendayi Darikwa and James Tarkowski start for the first time since a League Cup defeat at Accrington in August.
However, Tarkowski has made eight substitute appearances in the Premier League, coming off the bench again against Southampton to help close out a 1-0 win.
“We’ve got a deeper squad and I trust all of them,” Dyche added.
“It’s just that I can only pick 11 at a time and generally, I think it’s fair to say, the league form has been strong.
“Therefore, I haven’t messed around so much with the league side, although there have been changes and changes in formation.
Ashley Barnes had a late chance to win the third-round tie at Sunderland
“We felt it was appropriate at Sunderland and may well look at that again because they gave a pretty solid performance I felt and, probably, over the game there should have come out winners.
“I felt the team was strong enough to go and win at Sunderland. It didn’t, but it gave enough to show me it could win that game.
“Whether we make changes again or not is another decision. We will put out a side we think can win the game.”
Sunderland’s selection options have been reduced with three players – Lamine Kone, Didier Ndong and Wahbi Khazri – away at the Africa Cup of Nations and a number of others facing injury problems.
David Moyes’ side lost 4-1 at Turf Moor on 31 December and extended their winless run to five games with a 3-1 loss at home to Stoke City last Saturday.
And experienced midfielder Seb Larsson is hoping for a response against the Clarets.
“On Tuesday we have another game and it’s a chance to make amends,” said the Sweden international.
“That’s all you can do. We have to keep plugging away, keep working and keep making sure we improve, so we have to pick up more points and progress in the Cup.”
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