“All the strikers are showing really good sharpness” - Burnley boss Sean Dyche delighted to have his forwards fit and firing
Burnley’s four senior strikers have had a testing season, scoring 23 between them, with Chris Wood netting almost half that with his tally of 11.
But boss Sean Dyche is delighted to have all four fit and looking sharp for the final four games of the campaign, as the Clarets look to rubber stamp a sixth-successive season in the Premier League.
Wood’s hat-trick at Wolves two weeks ago fired him into an exclusive club of forwards to hit double figures in the top flight over four-straight campaigns, including Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son, Mohamed Salah, Jamie Vardy and Alexandre Lacazette.
It’s often over-looked that Ashley Barnes joined him in double figures in all competitions in 2017/18 and 2018/19, before an injury hit couple of seasons.
Jay Rodriguez also netted 11 last season in total, in his first season back at the club, having bagged the same number with West Brom in his previous year at this level.
Matej Vydra, meanwhile, has enjoyed his best season for Burnley in terms of goals and appearances, scoring six, and is currently enjoying a prolific partnership with Wood, worth 10 goals between them in seven games.
The strikers have been questioned at points this season, with only Monday night’s opponents Fulham and already relegated Sheffield United scoring fewer, but since match day 30, only Manchester City, West Ham, West Brom and Spurs have netted more than the Clarets.
And Dyche said: “All the strikers are showing really good sharpness.
”Barnesy is slightly different because he’s been injured, but Jay came on and affected the game against West Ham, and could have scored an equaliser.
”Woody is quite obviously scoring goals, and Vyds is looking a threat.
”Vyds does pose a threat with his pace and his movement, and he’s scored a couple of really important goals too.
“So you’ve got four strikers who form a very good group, especially for a club like us.”
Barnes has recently restored the group to four, after more than two months out, since scoring the equaliser in a 1-1 draw at home to Fulham.
He has had a difficult time, with a groin problem putting paid to the second half of last season, but his strong character will only serve him well.
Barnes only has three goals this season, but they came in a 2-1 home win over Wolves, the famous victory at Anfield, and that draw with the Cottagers, and Dyche added: “Yeah, he had a knee problem earlier in his career, and more recently he’s had this issue with his groin injury.
”But he’s a good player, we know that, a very effective player, and he will be effective for us again.
”He’s just getting back to sharpness.
“He’s only been involved in so many games because of his injury situation.
”But he’s proved over a long period here that he’s a very effective player for us. And like I said I’ve got every belief in him.
”I thought Jay Rodriuguez looked sharp again when he came on the other night.
”He is looking sharp in training, and Woody’s playing well and has got a great goals return going.
”And Vyds is beginning to show why he’s here, and that’s a really healthy mix going into these last four games, with those four strikers all fit and all available.“