Burnley manager Sean Dyche has provided updates on injuries to first team players Jack Cork, Ben Mee and Ashley Barnes ahead of the start of their 2020/21 season.
The 49-year-old struck a reasonably positive note when updating reporters on the fitness status of this trio in a press briefing this morning, although he does not expect to have them back in time for Thursday’s Carabao Cup clash against Sheffield United.
As per Lancashire Live, Dyche said: “Barnesy is going well. Ben Mee: we are being cautious with, Corky is a slightly longer situation but that is all going well. All three are in good shape but it is unlikely they will be available this week.”
The 30-year-old, who made a flying start to last season with four goals in his first three games, could nonetheless face an uphill battle to displace Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez, who struck 14 and 11 goals respectively in 2019/20.
Burnley captain Mee missed the final six games of last term with a thigh problem, having been ever-present in the Premier League prior to then (as per TransferMarkt). With Dyche preaching caution about the return of the skipper, Kevin Long could feature at centre-back in the upcoming games against Sheffield United and Leicester, having taken Mee’s place towards the end of 2019/20.
Cork has been absent since late June after incurring an ankle injury against Crystal Palace and Dyche’s words seem to suggest that the midfielder is making good progress but his return is not yet imminent. Josh Brownhill, who broke into the side towards the end of last season, could renew his starting role over the coming days while the ex-Southampton man remains sidelined.
Which of these players can Burnley least afford to be without?
However, at least the updates on Barnes, Cork and Mee all seem to be relatively positive, while players such as Long and Brownhill have stepped up commendably in the absences of their team-mates when opportunities have been presented to them.
Burnley fans, how crucial is it to have the injured trio back playing again soon given the sparsity of the squad? Comment below with your views!
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