The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Joshua Richards

BURN­LEY’S strik­ing op­tions will be sig­nif­i­cantly boosted with in­jury-plagued striker Ash­ley Barnes close to a re­turn to full fit­ness.

Barnes has been miss­ing for ten months af­ter suf­fer­ing mul­ti­ple knee lig­a­ment dam­age last sea­son.

But, af­ter re­turn­ing to ac­tion in the U21 squad this week, the hit­man has con­vinced boss Sean Dy­che he still has a role to play.

The Clarets are top of the Cham­pi­onship and the re­turn of the 26-year-old striker, so cru­cial in the Premier League last sea­son, will be a big lift.

“He’s do­ing well. He got 90 min­utes the other day,” said the Burn­ley boss. “Then we’ve got the two-week break. If ev­ery­thing goes to plan, he’ll be get­ting closer in the next cou­ple of weeks.

“For me, hav­ing been through a ca­reer with in­juries my­self, it’s great to see when they’re back out there. He’s en­joy­ing him­self and feel­ing re­ally good.”

Dy­che added that striker Lukas Jutkiewicz, 26, was not too far be­hind his team-mate af­ter rup­tur­ing knee lig­a­ments at the end of Au­gust.

“Juke’s back in full train­ing with the group. He’s not ready for a game yet, but that’s a step for­ward in the last week,” he said.

“It’s great for those lads be­ing out there and go­ing well. In front of them they can see Vokesy (Sam Vokes) is back up and run­ning prop­erly, play­ing well and scor­ing goals, so it’s a good vis­ual for them to see that you can come through it and get your­self back to where you were.”

Mean­while, the Clarets are hop­ing for a bumper pay­day when the fee for for­mer striker Danny Ings’ trans­fer to Liverpool last sum­mer is de­cided by a trans­fer tri­bunal, ex­pected to be at the end of April.

Burn­ley chief ex­ec­u­tive Dave Bald­win said the club had pro­vided a “doc­u­men­ta­tion bun­dle of prob­a­bly in ex­cess of 400 or 500 pages.”

“You get your ducks in a row and do the job right,” he told BBC Ra­dio Lan­cashire.

RE­TURN: Ash­ley Barnes

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