Wood return gives Burnley boss Dyche big decision to make


Burnley boss Sean Dyche faces a selection dilemma for Saturday's Premier League game at Newcastle after confirming striker Chris Wood is fit again.

New Zealand international Wood, who is the club’s top goalscorer this season with 10 Premier League goals, has been suffering with a thigh injury and he missed last week’s 3-0 home victory against Bournemouth – a result that has left the Clarets just four points off fifth-place Manchester United.

In the 28-year-old’s absence, Matej Vydra struck his second goal in as many matches and the Czech Republic striker formed a nice partnership up front alongside Jay Rodriguez, who has netted five goals from 26 top-flight appearances.

With Wood now recovered and back in the frame for Saturday’s trip to St James’ Park to take on struggling Newcastle United, Dyche has a decision to make on which duo he names in his starting XI.

“Wood is certainly fit, so he comes back into the thinking,” the manager said. “But Vyds and Jay-Rod (Jay Rodriguez) in the last couple of games have certainly laid down a marker.”

Burnley’s victory over the Cherries was their fourth in five unbeaten Premier League matches, a run which has lifted them up to 10th place in the table, and it’s not just the attacking players that are catching the eye of the English manager.

Dyche admitted his players’ form, following a run of four straight league defeats last month, has given him plenty to ponder.

“It helps with your thoughts when the team are not just winning, winning’s obviously very important, but it’s also if they’re performing,” he added. “Generally the team’s been performing well and it does help somewhat when you’re thinking of picking your side.”

Burnley are in contention to finish in a European position this season, something they achieved in the 2017/18 campaign when they ended the campaign in seventh.

The Clarets failed to get through qualifying, losing out to Olympiakos in the final play-off round, but the Lancashire outfit will be hoping to get another crack at it this summer.