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Forward Thinking For Dyche

Boss weighs up fitness issues for strike partners Wood and Barnes

24 October 2019

Chris Wood faces a fitness check but the Clarets’ strikeforce should be bolstered by the return of goal-scoring sidekick Ashley Barnes.

And Jack Cork is also in the frame to face former club Chelsea as Burnley prepare to tackle the high-flying Londoners at Turf Moor on Saturday night.

Wood moved level with Barnes on four Premier League goals apiece with the Clarets’ opening goal at Leicester City last Saturday before playing a part in what – but for VAR – would have been a leveller.

But the in-form frontman, who has scored four times in his last four games, has his ever-present record under threat due to a slight hamstring problem.

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He will be assessed, while the Clarets’ are optimistic that Barnes will be back after missing the 2-1 defeat at Leicester with a groin strain of his own.

“Barnesy and Corky have trained today (Thursday) so we’ll make sure there’s no reaction tomorrow,” confirmed manager Sean Dyche.

“Johann (Berg Gudmundsson) will still be a while and Woody has a tight hamstring and we have to make a judgement call on that. We will know further tomorrow.

“It might be a couple in, a couple out – we’ll see if people pull through in time.”

Cork has missed the last two games since suffering a shoulder blade fracture on his 150th appearance for the Clarets at Aston Villa at the end of last month.

His return would increase Dyche’s midfield options with Danny Drinkwater not yet ready to figure.

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The on-loan Chelsea man would be not eligible to face his former club but is still some way from forcing his way into the first-team picture as he continues to build up to full fitness following an ankle problem.

“We are hoping that by next week he can join in on a day-to-day basis with the first-team squad,” Dyche added.

“He needs that now because it’s been a bit of time.

“The challenge we’ve got is that he didn’t have enough football time when he got here.

“We just about got him close to that and then he’s had another period out, so we’ve got to give him more football time – as in games.

“It’s not so easy to get those games but we can make sure we arrange enough to get him up to some kind of speed where he can at least be part of the group and start being active again for us.”


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