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Dyche: Now It's Getting Your Eye In

Clarets ready to ramp up preparations with 'pre-season' work-outs

5 June 2020

Sean Dyche is looking to give his players as much game-time as possible as the countdown to kick-off continues.

The release of the first three rounds of fixtures following the planned Premier League re-start has confirmed that Burnley will resume their campaign at defending champions Manchester City on Monday, 22 June.

That leaves just over a fortnight for the Clarets to fine-tune their preparations with Dyche planning to line up games in-house and against outside opposition following the green light from the league earlier this week.

“We have had some clearance to play some friendly games which opens up another guideline to bring you back to a bit more of a normal situation,” said the Burnley boss, whose squad has been back at the training ground since 19 May when lockdown restrictions were eased and the first round of testing for coronavirus was completed.

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“That will be from next week. We are working on the idea of having a game the Saturday before the season starts again.

“We’ve had a couple of bigger pitch scenarios where we’ve played a full-sided game and that will continue on the Saturday this week, building up for real fitness.

“We’re quite happy with the fitness levels and now it’s getting your eye in and the sharpness.

“That’s going to be the most difficult bit because in a pre-season scenario, which this kind of is, you’d normally have as many as five friendlies.

“You wouldn’t play every minute of them, of course, but you’d certainly play three nineties and maybe four.

“To go into this scenario, you’re probably looking at more like two and after quite a long break.

“But this is the challenge. They are peculiar times for us all. We work according to the best we can to be right and ready to deliver performance. The players are looking clear-eyed to get on with the task.”

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After initially being restricted to working in small groups – mainly on physical fitness – the return to contact training in larger numbers a week ago has seen an acceleration to Burnley's build-up.

A number of the club’s Under-23 players have been involved to help boost numbers and aid the next stage of their development – although those returning from loan spells in the EFL won’t be eligible to play a competitive fixture.

And the Clarets, 10th in the table and on a seven-match unbeaten league run, also have a couple of injury concerns, notably in the striking department which could stretch their resources for the start of the mini-campaign – when five substitutes from a bench of nine will be permitted for the final nine matches.

Ashley Barnes is not fully back in the swing of things following his hernia operation at the start of the year, while top scorer Chris Wood has picked up an Achilles tendon injury which may mean a delayed return.

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“Barnesy it still not quite right yet and Woody has a bit of a problem with his Achilles. We are waiting for more news on that,” Dyche told Clarets Player HD as well as confirming that  winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson had missed a couple of days with a tight calf.

“We are a bit more hopeful on Barnesy that it’s settling down, so hopefully he’ll get back into some form of training over the next week or so.

“We’re not sure on Woody yet. He’s going to have to take his time on that and see how that settles down.

“That wouldn’t be helpful if those two aren’t right but it’s an on-going thing and we will wait on them.

“We recently got some good game-time into Vyds and if the other guys are missing we have Vyds and Jay was playing before the break and it’s good that he’s recovered (from a knee injury).

“He’s going well and he’s happy with that scenario. There’s a balance to these situations and at this time, because of the guidelines we’re going to have to work under, it’s fair to say we want as many fit players as we can.

“This is the challenge of having a smaller squad, which is something we’ve known for a long time.”

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