Steven Defour is moving closer to a return to action with confirmation that he remains a key part of the Clarets’ long-term plans.
The midfielder hasn’t played since the end of January following knee and calf injuries.
But the option of a 12-month extension to his contract at Turf Moor was taken up in the summer, meaning the former Belgium international will remain with Burnley until at least June, 2020.
“That was always the case,” confirmed manager Sean Dyche.
“He was injured at the time and we leave players alone when they’re injured, so we didn’t go out to the Press and say he’s here for another two years. But he is, and there’s no question in-house what we’re talking about.”
Defour, who joined the Clarets from Anderlecht for a then-record fee in August, 2016, recovered from knee surgery to begin pre-season training at the start of the summer.
A calf problem then delayed his return, but following treatment at Burnley and back home in Belgium the 30-year-old – a key part of the Clarets’ success in the first half of last season – is back in full training.
“Steven is doing really well,” Dyche added. “He’s been training with us full-out for a week-10 days, which is great, and he’s looking well and feeling well.
“He will start a games’ programme, we’re hoping, next week if all goes to plan
“He will need a couple of games to build into it and build up to at least a 90 minutes.”
Robbie Brady is also back training, although just behind Defour in terms of a scheduled return, and summer signing Ben Gibson has been booked in to see a specialist to gauge the extent of a groin-type injury.
But Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who missed the Clarets’ last game before the international break with a hamstring problem, is fit to return to the squad for Sunday’s trip to Wolves.
And former Wolves defender Stephen Ward is also fit after recovering from the foot injury that kept him out of the second of the Republic of Ireland’s two internationals.