Burnley keeper Pope closing in on return to action

Nick Pope is closing in on a return to action.

Monday, 17th December 2018, 11:18 am
Updated Monday, 17th December 2018, 11:23 am
File photo dated 26-07-2018 of Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday August 1, 2018 Burnley will seek UEFA dispensation to bring in a goalkeeper for their Europa League qualifier against Aberdeen after injuries to Nick Pope and Tom Heaton, manager Sean Dyche has announced. See PA story SOCCER Burnley. Photo credit should read Ian Rutherford/PA Wire.

The England international keeper has been out since the end of July, when he suffered a dislocated shoulder in Burnley’s Europa League second qualifying round first leg tie at Aberdeen.

He had targeted a December return, and boss Sean Dyche said: “We’re coming back to the group we think are a good group, and also the energy, belief and fitness levels, as regards injuries.

“Wardy (Stephen Ward) is a little bit away, he’s back on the grass working again, regular, not quite working with us.

“And Popey is getting on with it and getting stronger all the time.”

Asked whether he will get some gametime, Dyche added: “Soon, we’ll make that decision.”

Steven Defour and Johann Berg Gudmundsson could both be available for the trip to Arsenal on Saturday: “Both close but we couldn’t take the risk, we’re trying to get the squad back to full fitness – we know that’s another factor, the injury list we’ve had this season, for the first time since I’ve been here, as regards soft tissues.

“We’ve had a few serious knees but not so much the soft stuff. We can’t risk them, so hopefully they will be back in the thinking next week.”