Burnley look set to be without goalkeeper Tom Heaton for “months, not weeks” after the Clarets skipper suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder in the win ovedr Crystal Palace.
Heaton landed awkwardly collecting a cross in the 36th minute of a tight match won by an early Chris Wood strike.
And after the England international was taken to hospital for treatment, manager Sean Dyche was bracing himself for the worst possible news.
The gaffer said: “At the moment it’s a suspected dislocated shoulder and we’ll find out more later.
“Tom has gone off to hospital to have that fully checked over, but if so, I would imagine he’ll be out for months, not weeks.”
Heaton’s replacement, Nick Pope, made himself an instant hero with the Clarets fans on only his sixth appearance for the club.
The former Charlton Athletic stopper was assured between the posts and made a match-wining save late on with his legs to deny Christian Benteke.
Dyche added: “I always say it gives an opportunity to others and Nick (Pope) came in and applied himself really well today.
“You have to be ready to take your chance when it comes and ‘Popey’ will be thrilled with that. I felt he was good at Blackburn in the cup and then again today.
“It’s hard enough going into a game as a centre half when it’s tight. When you are a keeper and the result doesn’t go your way, even if it’s not your fault, people question you in that weird negative way that some folk do.
“Instead they will say he was fantastic and that will do him the world of good.
“I thought he was outstanding in a team full of resilience in front of him on a day when, overall, they were better than us on the day. Sometimes that happens.
“Over the balance of the season I thought we played very well against West Brom and got nothing. Today we haven’t played as well and come away with a nice three points.”
Wood’s second goal in as many games – in his first Premier League start – ultimately proved the distance, despite Palace repeatedly knocking on the door in search of their first goal of the season.
Dyche beamed: “All players, particularly strikers, want a goal, and it was a fine finish from Chris. he took it early and gave the keeper no chance.
“Strangely, that affected the game. I thought it would be a lot more cagey, but once that went in I felt it brought a freedom to their performance and they looked a lot more relaxed.
“You can’t take anyone lightly in this division and today was one of the rare times we were probably looked at as favourites.
“I thought you could feel that a little bit in the stadium and it wasn’t a good performance from us, but credit to them for making that happen and credit to us for defending so well to see it through.
“You need that mentality to never be beaten and always look to win and we’ve shown that many times. That showed today.”