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Dyche: Squad Strength Is Good

Boss pleased with how players have stepped ahead of trip to Selhurst Park

12 January 2018

Sean Dyche has been delighted with the strength in depth as his depleted squad head on another tough away day assignment at Crystal Palace.

The Clarets have been hit hard by injuries in recent weeks, including spells on the sidelines for the likes of Stephen Ward, Scott Arfield, Chris Wood and Matt Lowton.

Add in the longer-term injuries to Tom Heaton, Robbie Brady and the returning Jon Walters and Dean Marney and it leaves the squad stretched going into the second half of the season.

But Dyche feels the strength of recent performances is a clear indication of a growth in the playing side.

He explained; “It’s very unusual for us to have this little run of soft tissue injuries because we’ve been so strong in that area for the last five years.

“It’s coincided with so many games coming over the Christmas and new year period too, but hopefully now the game schedule slows down a little and there’s a couple of free weekends on the horizon, we can ease people back and get them fit again.

“In balance with that though, I have been relatively pleased with the performances and I think that shows the depth of the squad.

“Of course, it’s nice to have key components in the slots and we’ve had to move players around, but I am a great believer in giving people a chance to play.

“People like Charlie Taylor have come in and I think he is delivering. We know about Nick Pope and James Tarkowski, but Ash Westwood came in and did ever so well at Manchester City, so he’s showing clear signs that he’s looking after himself.

“Sam (Vokes) came back in and was a handful, so there are an awful lot of good signs about the group.”

Dyche, whose side travel to Selhurst Park for a fifth away game in seven in all competitions – having faced four of the Premier League’s top five in their last handful of fixtures – added: “When you add into that the fine margins in recent games, it’s a good sign.

“We’re in a run of games against some really tough opponents, but at places like Manchester United we were three minutes, and arguably a decision, away from winning.

“Then we were dominant at Huddersfield and should have had a penalty, then lost to Liverpool in the last minute.

“Add in Tottenham and Manchester City and we’ve played some pretty big teams, and we’ve been unfortunate, I feel, not to have more rewards.

“We could easily have come out of that run with two, three or five more points.

"I don’t want to be too greedy over the season, but I have been delighted with the group and how they have adapted to the challenge of losing some players and now we want to keep moving forwards.”

Burnley have happy memories of their last visit to Palace, which brought a first away win of the 2016/17 campaign at the penultimate attempt, last May.

Goals from Ashley Barnes and Andre Gray secured back-to-back Premier League campaigns for the first time  and Dyche recalled: “They will know we gave a good performance down there last season and we’ve happy memories of a good day.

“But they have settled things down this season and I don’t think anyone was in that much doubt that would happen.

“You look at the players they have and they are a better side than results in the early part of the season showed, and that’s been proved by Roy (Hodgson) and his staff.

“He seems to have simplified things and they have players who are organised and willing to work, so we know it’s another tough challenge for us.”

The Clarets' squad has been strengthened by the addition of on-loan Tottenham winger GK Nkoudou, who could be involved at Palace.

The hosts, meanwhile, have a number of players sidelined as they look to build on a run of just one defeat in 11 league games which has lifted them to 14th in the table.

Full-back Jeffrey Schlupp and winger Andros Townsend have joined Scott Dann, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mamadou Sakho, Joel Ward, Jason Puncheon and Connor Wickham on the injured list.

If you can’t make it to Palace, Clarets Player HD has full match commentary from 2.45pm.


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