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Dyche Excited By Return Of Key Men

Comeback of injured players will strengthen Clarets for next season

21 May 2018

Sean Dyche is looking forward to the return of key players from injury as the Clarets bid to build on a memorable 2017/18 season.

Burnley have set the bar high after securing a best league placing since 1974 with their seventh-place finish in the Premier League.

Dyche’s side accrued a club record Premier League tally of 54 points – despite an injury list running almost into double figures at one stage.

That situation improved as the Clarets hit a five-game winning streak to get over the line and secure European football for next season.

But Burnley still finished the season without influentual midfield men Steven Defour and Robbie Brady, as both continue their recovery from mid-season knee surgery, defensive lynch-pin Ben Mee and 10-goal striker Ashley Barnes.

Steven Defour was an ever-present in the Premier League until injury curtailed his season in January

And Dyche says having them all back will significantly add to the Clarets’ squad strength as they tackle the twin challenge of Europa and Premier League football at the start of next season.

The Burnley boss said: “We have been stretched this season, unusually.

“The thing some people forget are the injuries we’ve had this season and we were still missing really, really top players.

“That’s going to be interesting to integrate them back into the squad.

“They have become important players and we look to them to return in good shape for pre-season.

“Hopefully everything goes well, and they will come back, so you are immediately two or three players back in your camp.

“Before you worry about recruiting, you are immediately stronger, so that’s a great start.” 

Robbie Brady also started every league game before being injured in December

The Clarets are sure to be active in the summer’s transfer market to try and build from a position of strength.

However, Dyche does not plan to “over-fill” his squad in preparation for a Europa League campaign that starts with a second qualifying round first leg on 26 July.

Burnley face the potential of playing on six successive Thursdays up to the end of August as they look to try and reach the group stages of the competition.

And despite the extra workload, Dyche is excited about the prospect of the Clarets’ first European campaign in over 50 years.

“I’m still a manager who’s developing, so it will be very interesting for me,” he added.

“I can imagine the challenge and all that it brings – not just on the pitch, but the logistics, the planning, all those sort of things.

“It’s good for me, good for the staff, the team and the club.

“All of those challenges go into a new situation. We’ve had many down the years here, so we have to be adaptable and open-minded and not get bogged down by the outside noise.

“It’s important we know what we are focusing on and we stick to that because that’s served us well.”

The Clarets will report back for pre-season duty a few days early at the start of July to begin their preparations for the new campaign.

But before that, Dyche will allow the dust to settle on a landmark year at Turf Moor.

“I think there are still positives to come beyond this season and as managers do, I was already looking at next season about a month ago,” he said.

“There’s a lot to be thought through to keep moving forward but, even me, you’ve got to get your head out of the sand sometimes and realise what a historic season it’s been.

“When I came here everyone kept reminding me of the history of the club.

“Over the last five years, different groups that we’ve had have laid down some real strong markers in that history.

“It’s not at the front of my mind at the moment, but over the summer I will reflect on that and think of all the good work that’s been done by so many.”

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