Barton has to earn right to start in the Premier League
Joey Barton has to earn the right to start games in the Premier League, after making a return in the FA Cup at Sunderland.
Barton made his second debut for the club in the goal-less draw at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, having rejoined the Clarets last week.
But, while Sean Dyche was pleased with his contribution, as he came through 90 minutes, with Burnley 12th in the league, on 23 points, Barton won’t just walk back into the side.
He has slotted back into the dressing room, but Dyche said: “He’s vocal enough when he needs to be, but he wants to be part of the group.
“He knows there’s a big demand in the Premier League.
“But he wants to be a part of the group first, and then he’ll have to earn the right to be considered a starter.”
Asked whether he will be satisfied with starting the odd cup game, Dyche added: “I think he’s satisfied with being back at the club at the moment, that’s his focus.
“I don’t think he’s over-thinking anything else.
“He knows generally we’re making a good fist of things in the Premier League, he’s certainly no mug in football terms, but I was pleased he came in and delivered a good performance and looked nice and fit.
“Him and (Steven) Defour began to grip the game as it wore on – the whole team did, I was super-pleased with that, the last 10-15 minutes we were progressive and tried to take the tie.”
It was Barton’s first game since Rangers’ 5-1 derby defeat at Celtic on September 10th, the aftermath of which precipitated his departure from Ibrox.
But he looked strong and fit, and Dyche acknowledged: “He knows he’s got some work to do, but his general fitness was very good, and credit to him.
“He’s had a spell and been training with us, with the sports science team away from the main team while he got his base fitness up.
“But true match fitness is different and he was good with that.”
And Dyche hopes his knowhow will help the side as they look to retain their Premier League status: “He brings what he brought before, his experience, his will and demand, and he’s made that clear by the way he goes about it.”
Meanwhile, Dyche has injury worries over a number of players after the cup tie.
Scott Arfield and Johann Berg Gudmundsson both came off with hamstring problems, while Jon Flanagan (knee), George Boyd (unspecified niggle) and Patrick Bamford (illness) were left out of the 18.
Dyche said: “It looks like two minor hamstrings, but we’ll have to wait and see.
“That’s the only niggle really, we possibly have two players down.
“There’s Flanno as well, and Boydy with just a niggle,
“I don’t think it’s a worry.
“Flanno trained on Friday but it was just too quick with his history with his knee, so it was the right thing to do.
“And Patrick Bamford was ill.”