Date: 22nd February 2018 at 11:15pm
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Burnley manager Sean Dyche has said that Chris Wood could be set for a return this weekend when we face Southampton, but he’s not rushing Tom Heaton back.

Speaking to the Official Site as he met with the media ahead of our hosting of Southampton at Turf Moor, Dyche explained about the possible team selections.

On the subject of New Zealand international Chris Wood, he has missed the last nine games following a knee injury he sustained in the match against Tottenham Hotspur prior to Christmas.

‘Woody got 70 minutes in so he`s back in the thinking.’

Similar applies to Stephen Ward who made it to the bench for the Swansea City tie a fortnight ago, and then got 90 minutes under his belt in the behind closed doors game against Blackpool.

Dean Marney also edged himself toward contention with involvement in that match as well and of course having spent the last five months out injured, Tom Heaton was between the sticks and even though he came through the game unscathed Dyche is not rushing him back given the form of Nick Pope.

‘Tom`s not there yet to worry about that. Tom`s main thing is to get fit. He knows that and I know that. He`s been out a while. He`s done very well with his re-hab and so have the medical team. Now it`s about true fitness and as a keeper it`s about timing, getting your eye in and about reminding yourself about game awareness and game management and all the different things that add into a goalkeeper`s performance. He`s not under any pressure to be considered at the moment because we want him to be right, not just on what you see, but right in himself and that`s an important factor for us.’

Dyche went on to say that obviously our skipper would have one eye on winning back his England place for the World Cup Finals and he backed the 31 year old to make the right call when it came to his judgement on when he was best set for a return, knowing that the summer wouldn’t tempt him into an early return that could go wrong.

‘He a very bright professional. He`s not only very professional, he understands the profession, so he understands he`s got to be right, regardless of whatever else he`s looking for. He has to be right for himself and he has to be right for the players and the team and he`s well aware of that. We`re as much governed by him. He`s certainly old enough and wise enough to know when he`s really on it and on top of his feeling of being a goalkeeper and that comes when playing games. He`s in a good place at the moment and he`s enjoying being back out there with the players and working with us.’

Dyche also confirmed that James Tarkowski had ‘a chance’ of returning with him missing out on three matches with a groin issue and Phil Bardsley has also now returned to training following his issue.

Scott Arfield remains a doubt though with a tight calf.

‘When the group is at its strongest point and everyone is vying for a shirt, that brings that edge. When you lose so many that edge can soften slightly. That group dynamic and in-house competition is very important, to get that kind of edge to a performance when you need it. It helps when all these bodies are coming back to full fitness.’

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