Sean Dyche is looking forward to selecting from a strong hand for the end-of-season run-in as the Clarets’ injury list starts to shorten.
Phil Bardsley has been added to the roll-call of absentees for Saturday’s trip to Swansea City with the hamstring strain he picked up in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Premier League leaders Manchester City.
But left-back Stephen Ward will travel to South Wales after missing the last nine league games with a knee problem.
Goalkeeper and club captain Tom Heaton is also back in full training and Dyche believes the two-week break from action following the clash at the Liberty Stadium will see more players pushing for a first-team return for the final 11 games of the campaign.
“There’s good news behind this weekend,” said the Burnley boss.
“It’s another big challenge this weekend, but behind that we think there will be players in that two-week period to hopefully finish off at the end of their injury periods and get back in the squad.
Stephen Ward made a successful comeback in the under-23s
“Sometimes you don’t want a break, but on this occasion, because of the injuries, a break is important to us.
“It allows them more working time and we’ll try get games planned accordingly so they can get a game in, or maybe 75 minutes, for that match or game feel.”
James Tarkowski also misses the trip to the in-form Swans as he continues to recover from a groin injury but the defender, along with striker Chris Wood, is one of those likely to benefit from a break in action forced by the Clarets’ exit from the FA Cup.
“Tarky is settling down and has had the first three or four days this week when he’s felt a lot better and that’s good news,” added Dyche.
“Woody is getting better and is on the grass every day with the physios. He’s not quite joining with us yet either, but they are getting closer.
“They are active on the grass every day and when they get to that stage, barring any slip-ups that usually blends back into full training and once they are full in training they start to get considered again.
“Woody will maybe need a game or something to get going to real fitness, but it’s good to see them back on the mend and back towards recovery.”
Tom Heaton is back working with the first-team squad
Dean Marney is also making good progress in his rehabilitation from a recent knee injury, while Jon Walters and Robbie Brady are both working their way back from longer term issues.
And at the start of this week Steven Defour underwent successful surgery on the knee cartilage injury that will keep the midfielder out for the remainder of the campaign.
“The surgeon and Steven are both really pleased with it, which is hopefully a nice positive mind-set to carry on from the injury,” said Dyche.
The current injury list is the worst of Dyche’s reign at Turf Moor, but the manager is not looking to make excuses.
And despite a winless run now stretching to nine games – five of which have been against top-six opposition – his side remains seventh in the Premier League and within four points of the total the Clarets managed last season with a third of the campaign to go.
“There’s life in a side who give everything, and we give everything. I believe in the group,” Dyche added.
“I’m not crying it in about the injuries. It’s statistically very difficult for sides outside the top six to beat the top six. But every team is good in the Premier League. We’ve got to put in performances.
“It’s been more challenging lately because of injuries but when everyone is fit and that competitive element is there, then I think we’ve improved on last season.
“But you have to do the improvement on the league table. That’s where you’re measured, so you want to go above and beyond what we did last season.
“Beyond that, we’re open-minded. We have been all season and that’s been effective this year.
“We’ve got 18 points away from home, 18 at home. That proves there has been a more open-minded approach, particularly away from home, because it was difficult for us last season and we’ve quite obviously changed that.”