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Clarets Chasing Cup Marvel

Dyche plans changes but still wants FA Cup shock at Manchester City

5 January 2018

Sean Dyche has confirmed he will make changes as the Clarets launch their FA Cup bid at Premier League leaders and champions-in-waiting Manchester City on Saturday.

But the Burnley boss insists the players he sends out at the Etihad Stadium will be going all-out for a possible cup shock in front of 7,600 travelling fans.

The Clarets are coming off the back of a run of four league games in 10 days during the Christmas period, including two in three days over the New Year weekend.

Nine players started all four games, with striker Ashley Barnes playing three-and-a-half and Kevin Long three before James Tarkowski returned for last Monday’s last-gasp defeat to Liverpool.

Dyche has no complaints about the workload put on his squad, but admits he can’t ask them all to go again in the third-round tie at City.

“I hope to not make any excuses about all these games, which I choose not to. But there has to be a reality to it,” he said.

“Those players have put in a lot of effort over the Christmas period, when it’s more or less been the same group of players.

“That means there will be changes because I think it’s appropriate.

“We can’t continually risk players and the more fatigue players do get, that increases the risk of these minor injuries.

“But, there won’t be wholesale changes. It will still be a team that’s well recognised because we want to go there and give a good account of ourselves and be open-minded to what comes.”

Scott Arfield is the latest to be added to a five-man injury list with a hamstring tweak which makes him an unlikely starter.

Tom Heaton and Robbie Brady remain the long-term absentees, while Chris Wood and Stephen Ward are heading back to fitness.

However, Dyche does have the option of bringing in a number of senior players to give them valuable game-time and the chance to keep pushing for a more regular slice of the action.

And they will also have the added incentive of trying to be the first team to beat Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering side in a domestic match this season.

City are 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League, face the first leg of a Carbao Cup semi-final against Bristol City next Tuesday night and have tasted defeat only once in an incredible season – a 2-1 loss at Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk, having already booked their last place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

“We know it’s a tough game against a team that’s absolutely flying and a club with a very, very strong squad, let alone any given starting 11,” added Dyche.

“But equally, it’s a cup game and we all want the beauty and the marvel of the cup.

“We want to play our part in that, so we will be going there with full intent on taking the game on.”

City – who beat the Clarets 3-0 at home in the league in October - are also expected to make changes.

But Guardiola said he will play the strongest team he can and is likely to have several senior men on duty, given the depth of playing resources available to the five-times winners, who last lifted the Cup in 2011.  

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