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Clarets Plot Drinkwater Comeback Route

On-loan midfielder back in training as Chris Wood faces fitness check for Saturday

31 October 2019

Danny Drinkwater is back in training but not yet ready to play as the Clarets plot a possible route back to first-team football for the Premier League winner.

The midfielder’s only appearance of his loan spell at Turf Moor has so far come in a Carabao Cup tie at the end of August.

An ankle injury has since delayed his return to action and manager Sean Dyche confirmed a comeback is still being carefully managed.

“He’s injury-free, which is feeling good, so it gives him a more balanced situation to push on,” said Dyche.

“He’s back on the grass and he’s training but he’ll need a bit of a period to get back up to full speed now. That’s the challenge.

“It’s gone a bit longer than we hoped after the incident. We were just getting him up to full fitness and then he’s regressed back from that and we have had to start that going again.

Drinkwater run PA.jpg

“He needs a training period which started this week and will continue next week and then we’ll bolt on the games at the end of that.

“After having such a time out - and before that he hadn’t played a lot of football - we really need him to be properly back, rather than forcing when he’s not quite ready.”

Drinkwater’s loan spell from Chelsea runs until early January and the Clarets have 11 Premier League games before it expires.

That could still give the former Leicester City man a role to play with a potential longer-term stay under review.

“We weren’t thinking it would transpire as it has done, so that kind of leaves it in a bit of a different place to what it could have been if he had been fit and well and playing,” Dyche added.

“We’ll figure that out as we go from here.”

More immediately, Chris Wood remains a fitness a doubt for Saturday’s trip to Sheffield United, although he has a chance to recover from the hamstring strain that kept him out of last weekend’s 4-2 defeat to Chelsea.

Defender Phil Bardsley will also be assessed due to a minor back problem, while Johann Berg Gudmundsson remains sidelined as the Clarets seek a first away win of the season.

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