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Dyche: Clarets Thirsty For Return To Action

23 February 2018

Sean Dyche hopes the designed sunshine break turns up the heat on Southampton this weekend.

The Clarets have prepared for their return to action with a spell of warm-weather training in Portugal, followed by a welcome fitness boost for several key players

And with a rested squad and numbers being bolstered, the gaffer is looking for a return to the form that saw Burnley blast from the blocks earlier in the season.

He explained: “We’ve managed to get a few days away with the players and that’s been important.

“It’s rare, with international breaks, other than pre-season, that we can get the whole squad away together for a period of time.

“Everyone came along and that includes the long-term injured, and we used the time wisely.

“It’s also helped the pitches here at Barnfield to breathe. We’ve got great pitches now, but they’ve taken a bit of a battering with the weather and struggled over the past month to keep up to speed with ourselves.

“So, there were a number of different factors in getting away and it was a healthy balance between work and rest and hopefully that brings a feel to the next performance.

“We’ve had a good week’s training at Barnfield now and we’re all thirsty for that next game to come back around and the challenge that’s directly in front of us.”

Dyche revealed that Chris Wood, Dean Marney and Stephen Ward could all return to the squad against the Saints.

He added: “Stephen has made good progress and is getting back to true fitness, Chris also played in midweek for 70 minutes, so he’s got that under his belt and could feature in some capacity and Dean Marney is factored in.

“James Tarkowski has trained with us for the last seven days and, although I don’t think he’ll play this Saturday, he’s getting there.

“So, we are beginning to add to the numbers and there’s just Scott (Arfield) who is a doubt for the weekend with a tight calf, while Tom still needs another few games yet.

“He’s coming along nicely but he’s been out a long time and it was good to see him back out there in midweek and that helps the group because they can all see their mates coming back as a collective, to help the team, in the last 11 games.

Southampton arrive at Turf Moor as FA Cup quarter-finalists but currently occupying the final relegation spot in the Premier League after just one league win since November.

Midfielder Soufiane Boufal could return from injury but Shane Long, Steve Davis, Maya Moshida and ex-Clarets striker Charlie Austin are all still sidelined.

Dyche said: “They are certainly a side who, over the past few years, have been recognised as a regular Premier League outfit, but it shows you this season how demanding the league is.

“It’s not just Southampton, but also a number of established top flight teams who are having this challenge.

“It’s a very tough division and we haven’t won in 10; that’s a fact. Now we have to take on the challenge and get back to winning ways, however they come around.

“Our performances have not really dipped, other than Swansea, and it’s about believing in those recent solid performances and getting what we want.

“There’s no sweeping anything under the carpet here, but there have been some testing circumstances, including playing five of the top six.

“It’s fine margins, but the one thing I know is the group are slowly but surely getting back to full fitness and, as that happens, their belief, let along my belief heightens because earlier in the season, when we were all fit we showed we are a really strong outfit.”

Clarets Player HD will have full match commentary from Turf Moor on Saturday, from 2.45pm.

 


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