Sean Dyche has confirmed that Danny Drinkwater is returning to Chelsea at the end of his loan spell at Turf Moor.
The midfielder’s temporary stay expires next week, and he is now expected to look for first-team opportunities elsewhere after featuring just twice during his time with the Clarets.
Drinkwater – a Premier League winner from his days with Leicester City – joined the Clarets just before the start of the season.
But having suffered an ankle injury in an off-the-pitch incident at the end of August, the 29-year-old has been restricted to just one Premier League appearance since his recovery to go with the Carabao Cup start he made prior to his lay-off.
“He’s very understanding. He’s a good lad and I like him a lot and I think he’s a very good player,” said Burnley boss Dyche.
“We couldn’t get him the game-time that he wanted and therefore he’s going to take his chance in January and see if something else comes up that can promise him more game-time.
“There’s no grudge to bear. We enjoyed his company and him being around but just couldn’t get enough football for him. It’s a professional decision from his point of view.
“There was a moment when we had injuries and he probably would have played but things happen in football.
“He has been a credit to himself with his professionalism, other than the incident; the way he has recovered from that and the way has looked after himself.
“He has tried to be part of the group. We just haven’t got him as much game-time as he wanted and he needs. I like him as a player and a character and I wish him well.”
Drinkwater’s departure lightens the Clarets’ senior squad by one with Dyche not expecting any imminent transfer business following the opening of the January window.
Equally he thinks it “unlikely but not impossible” that he will lose any senior players, barring an unanswerable offer.
Dyche will dip into his squad strength for Saturday’s FA Cup third-round tie at home to Peterborough (KO 12.31pm).
He has confirmed that he will make changes and will be planning without goalkeeper Nick Pope and central defender Ben Gibson, who has only just returned to full training following injury.