Date: 23rd February 2018 at 3:46pm
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Manager Sean Dyche has said he’s relishing Burnley’s return to Premier League action this weekend against Southampton following the break we had in the fixture list.

With no FA Cup journey to contend with, Burnley found themselves with a weekend off and took in a spell of warm weather training out in Portugal and of course our injury issues have eased somewhat in that period as well, and Dyche now just wants to get back on the pitch and hopefully return to winning ways.

Speaking to the Official Site as he met with the media this week to preview the game, Dyche explained.

‘We`ve managed to get a few days away with the players and that`s been important. It`s rare, with international breaks, other than pre-season, that we can get the whole squad away together for a period of time. Everyone came along and that includes the long-term injured, and we used the time wisely.’

Dyche went on to say that a double benefit was it allowed the training pitches at Barnfield a few days to recover given the recent weather as well, so that should serve us better during the run in.

‘It`s also helped the pitches here at Barnfield to breathe. We`ve got great pitches now, but they`ve taken a bit of a battering with the weather and struggled over the past month to keep up to speed with ourselves. So, there were a number of different factors in getting away and it was a healthy balance between work and rest and hopefully that brings a feel to the next performance. We`ve had a good week`s training at Barnfield now and we`re all thirsty for that next game to come back around and the challenge that`s directly in front of us.’

Dyche also confirmed that Chris Wood, Dean Marney and Stephen Ward do come back into his thoughts for the game this weekend, but he obviously wasn’t going to give his line up away just yet.

‘Stephen has made good progress and is getting back to true fitness, Chris also played in midweek for 70 minutes, so he`s got that under his belt and could feature in some capacity and Dean Marney is factored in. James Tarkowski has trained with us for the last seven days and, although I don`t think he`ll play this Saturday, he`s getting there.’

He added.

‘So, we are beginning to add to the numbers and there`s just Scott Arfield who is a doubt for the weekend with a tight calf, while Tom still needs another few games yet. He`s coming along nicely but he`s been out a long time and it was good to see him back out there in midweek and that helps the group because they can all see their mates coming back as a collective, to help the team, in the last 11 games.’

As for Southampton more specifically, Dyche went on to say.

‘They are certainly a side who, over the past few years, have been recognised as a regular Premier League outfit, but it shows you this season how demanding the league is. It`s not just Southampton, but also a number of established top flight teams who are having this challenge. It`s a very tough division and we haven`t won in 10; that`s a fact. Now we have to take on the challenge and get back to winning ways, however they come around.’

He went on to say.

‘Our performances have not really dipped, other than Swansea, and it`s about believing in those recent solid performances and getting what we want. There`s no sweeping anything under the carpet here, but there have been some testing circumstances, including playing five of the top six. It`s fine margins, but the one thing I know is the group are slowly but surely getting back to full fitness and, as that happens, their belief, let along my belief heightens because earlier in the season, when we were all fit we showed we are a really strong outfit.’

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