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Match Previews

Fitness Is The Focus For Dyche In Pre-Season Opener

Match preview for Shamrock Rovers v Burnley

14 July 2017

Sean Dyche insists fitness is his only focus as Burnley kick-off their pre-season campaign in Dublin tonight.

Opponents Shamrock Rovers are expected to make a host of changes to the side that lost 2-3 at Tallaght Stadium in their Europa League second qualifier, first leg, against Czech side Mladá Boleslav on Thursday evening.

The Clarets, meanwhile, plan to give as many players as possible a maximum of 45 minutes each at the culmination of a week-long training trip on the Emerald Isle.

The gaffer said: “It’s getting them a bit of game time and game-feel as much as anything.

“When you've been off over the summer it’s that little reminder, but it’s about fitness and well-being in the sense of getting back on the horse and riding it.

“They will play a maximum of 45 minutes. We’ve bought enough bodies to do that and if anyone goes down we’ll fly someone out if it’s needed.”

Dyche, whose pre-season training camps have always been European-based, added: “It was part of our thinking to come here, that Burnley fans could make it.

“If you look over the number of years I’ve been here we try and do games that fans can get to.

“I know there’s been a couple of tricky ones, certainly in Austria, but generally we try and choose places that are accessible and this one obviously is.

“Shamrock kindly gave us a game and unfortunately they had a game the night before, but we knew that might happen when we planned the trip.

“However, they said they would definitely get a game on for us and we’re thankful for that.” 

The game at Rovers is expected to draw a large crowd, with the Clarets now having five full Republic of Ireland internationals in the camp.

Jeff Hendrick, Robbie Brady, Stephen Ward, Jonathan Walters and Kevin Long have all been the centre of attention for a steady stream of locals, eager to snatch an opportunity to watch their heroes train. 

Brady and best mate Jeff Hendrick even found themselves mobbed by young fans when news quickly spread on social media that they had popped into a local village for a haircut!

And for Ward, in particular, Friday’s game has a special resonance, as it comes against the local rivals of his former club in Ireland, Bohemians.

"I know the club very well,” he explained. “I’ve played there a few times as it was a local derby for Bohemians, the club I played for in Dublin, so it will be nice to go back there. 

“I always have fond memories of the Irish league as it gave me my grounding and helped me grow as a player, a man and an individual.

“That gave me the foundations I needed to go and be a success in England.

“It’s been brilliant to see them playing in Europe this week. Dundalk put Irish football on the map last season with their run to the Europa League group stages and any time an Irish side plays in Europe, as I did when we were at Bohemians, they have the support of the whole league.”

Kick off at Shamrock Rovers’ 6,000 capacity Tallaght Stadium is 7pm and Clarets fans can keep up with news of the game via the website and our social channels.

Highlights and post-match reaction will follow on Clarets Player HD.

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