Dyche hopeful Barnes can play his part at Spurs

Burnley

Sean Dyche says Ashley Barnes is continuing to nurse a groin injury but hopes he will be fit enough to start at Tottenham on Saturday.

The 30-year-old started Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to Manchester City on the bench, with Dyche keen to keep him in reserve due to an ongoing fitness issue.

The Clarets chief changed his formation to a 4-5-1 to cope with Barnes’ absence, playing his usual strike partner Chris Wood up front on his own but the alterations did not pay off.

Barnes came off the bench for the final half an hour in midweek as Burnley chased the game but could not turn the tide as the reigning champions ran riot at Turf Moor.

Dyche is now keeping his fingers crossed he will be able to call upon his talisman when the team take on another of the Premier League’s so-called ‘big six’ on Saturday.

The 48-year-old tactician says the ex-Brighton man is managing his injury and admits there is a “strong” chance he will return to the starting line-up for the clash with Spurs.

“His groin is still a bit sore – more of an over-use situation which is why we took him out the other night. But he has a strong chance,” he told the club website. “We had to be careful with him in the week, but he has a chance to be back in it and starting this weekend.”

Barnes and Wood have formed a highly effective partnership up front for Burnley in 2019, plundering an impressive 30 league goals between them in the calendar year, and their form has seen them both sign new contracts recently.

The duo have scored six goals this season and Dyche is pleased to see them finally start to get the respect they deserve.

However, he admits Barnes and Wood have more work to do before they can put themselves in the same bracket as the main man for Saturday’s opponents, Harry Kane – putting the England man at the top of the tree when it comes to strikers.

Kane was on target the last time the sides meet in February but it was Barnes who turned out to be the hero, netting in the 83rd minute as Burnley beat the north Londoners 2-1 at Turf Moor.

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