BARNES RETURN WILL BE LIFT FOR DYCHE
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