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Defour Back In The Pack

Midfielder closing in on Premier League return as Burnley prepare to face champions

18 October 2018

Steven Defour is “back in the pack” as the Clarets prepare for Saturday’s trip to champions Manchester City.

Defour – who played in an EFL Cup tie last month – is yet to feature in the Premier League since under-going knee surgery in January.

The midfielder made it back as far as the bench as the Clarets won at Cardiff City three weeks ago before a return to Belgium at the time of his father's death forced him to miss Burnley’s 1-1 draw with Huddersfield Town ahead of the international break.

However, Defour has trained regularly over the past fortnight and after featuring in a mid-week bounce game could now be involved in some capacity at the Etihad Stadium.

“Steven got another 90 minutes in the week, which was great, just to make sure he’s fit and well, which he is,” confirmed manager Sean Dyche.

“He’s training really well and his eye looks in at the moment, so we look forward to having him back.

“He’s right back in the pack now and in the thinking, followed by Robbie (Brady), hopefully closely, as long as everything continues to go well.”

Wingman Brady also played - and scored - as the Clarets beat a side from AFC Fylde at the training ground on Tuesday but is not quite ready to end 10-month absence from first-team duty.

“Robbie came through that as well for 90 minutes; his first 90 minutes,” added Dyche.

“We’re not going to clear him for this week, but that’s another great step forward.”

Defender Ben Gibson is also on the comeback trail and after returning to training is expected to play some form of match next week as he recovers from a groin injury.

And goalkeeper Nick Pope is training outside as he eases his way back from shoulder surgery.

Dyche explained: “Popey is working with Billy Mercer, just getting his handling going, not flying around at this stage. But he’s going along very well at the moment.”

Stephen Ward is also under-going a rehabilitation programme after minor surgery to repair some wear-and-tear damage to his left knee which will keep the left-back sidelined for a number of weeks.

“Wardy has had a tidy-up of his knee. It’s an historic injury so just needed clearing up,” added Dyche.

“It’s unfortunate timing because we’ve only got him and Chas and Wardy has historically done very well for us, although Chas is doing well at the moment.

“That’s a bit of a loss to us, but hopefully he will recover well from that.”

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