FORGOTTEN man Keith Treacy is closing in on a first team return.
Treacy scored and came through 90 minutes in a 6-0 behind-closed-doors friendly win against Rochdale on Tuesday at Gawthorpe.
And Sean Dyche is eager to harness the Republic of Ireland international’s undoubted talent.
The former Blackburn Rovers and Preston man has only made two appearances this season, after ending last term on loan at Sheffield Wednesday as the Owls were promoted to the Championship.
He found himself training with the development squad towards the end of Eddie Howe’s reign - a huge source of frustration to the former Clarets chief.
But a new manager brings a clean slate, and the 24-year-old appears to have grasped the nettle.
Ironically, Treacy’s finest moment in a Burnley shirt was on his debut last August, when he came off the bench against Dyche’s Watford and had a hand in Charlie Austin’s goal before scoring an equaliser, and Dyche said: “Keith is someone who has talent and is realigning his thoughts on it.
“I’m a great believe in working with people.
“If you affect the person you’ll affect their performance.
“It’s an open chance for him to do well, as it is for all of those players.
“Sometimes you might go into a new club and you think you have to make changes immediately.
“Here it’s a case of ‘are the players willing to change accordingly for what we think is appropriate and what we think will move them, the team and the club forward’.
“So far they’ve accepted that with open arms and I think that’s shown in performances, the way they’ve gone about it.
“That’s a good sign.
“He’s just another one of many players here we’re hoping to get the best out of.”
Treacy has said himself on his twitter page that he is aiming for a return in time to face his former club Blackburn in the derby a week on Sunday, and Dyche admitted: “He’s working hard.
“He’s working at his fitness levels, because that’s important.
“The fitness demands of the game – you can forget about my opinion, it’s there for everyone to see.
“You see every week in the Premier League, you can pick any stats up off the internet.
“There’s that much out there.
“There’s a certain requirement beyond my thoughts on it, it’s just the reality of football.
“There’s a certain fitness base that is needed and he’s not quite there yet, but he’s getting there.
“We’ll monitor his situation wisely because we do believe he’s a very good player.”
While a fit and focussed Treacy would be like signing a new player, Dyche wasn’t expected to bring anyone in ahead of the emergency loan window closing at 5 p.m. yesterday.
However, there was a chance a couple of fringe players could go out to get some games under their belt, with Wes Fletcher linked with a switch to League 2 Fleetwood Town, while George Porter was believed to have interested League 1 Portsmouth and Coventry City.
Dyche is a fan of the system: “I believe in the loan system – I’ve used it before.
“It’s not always the technical and tactical side of the game the young players go into – whatever club it might be – and I will make it clear to them when they go out on loan that’s not pushing players out, it’s done for a reason, we’ll monitor it, we’ll be speaking to the staff and likewise when we have loan players in we report back on them.
“We’ve had great success by doing that in the past.
“We’ll be looking at avenues to go down.
“It has to be the right level and the right type of challenge.
“Different players need different challenges.
“The reality is the main thing, the going and doing it at a given club.
“That’s the main thing we look for.
“If you look across the board, down around the London area Tottenham put a heavy amount of players out on loan last year.
“We believed in it at Watford because of financial reasons we were fast-tracking.
“Here I don’t think we have to fast-track as much, but still develop youngsters in the appropriate manner.
“I’ve walked into a club where there’s already a belief in loaning players out.
“We have players at Droylsden and Barrow, but as manager it’s important they understand it’s not about easing them out somewhere offsite, it’s about them gaining experience, and I think that’s invaluable.”