`

Dyche drawing on bitter experience as he handles return of Heaton with caution

Tom Heaton
Tom Heaton
Share this article

Clarets boss Sean Dyche admits he is being cautious over the return of skipper Tom Heaton - learning from his own bitter experience.

Heaton has been out since September after suffering a dislocated shoulder against Crystal Palace, but has since come back to full training and has completed four games, two behind closed doors and two with the Under 23s.

He said after playing against QPR Under 23s on Monday: “I'll speak to the manager and the physios and have a quick meeting about it. In terms of how I feel I'm sharp and ready to go, I feel superb.”

But Dyche isn’t one to take risks with players until they are more than ready, having suffered a setback while at Bristol City when returning too soon after eight months out, as he explained: “I spoke to Tom in the week about it, I probably go the other way a little bit, I’m a little bit cautious with injuries.

“The aim is to come back once, be a little bit careful and cautious, and make sure.

“The reason is, as a player I had a bad experience with my back, I had eight months out at Bristol City, and had three weeks training and was back playing.

“I was miles short. I remember thinking ‘why did I do that’. The manager asked me, and I said ‘yeah, I’ll get on with it’, and it cost me dearly.

“I’ve always had that ‘one more week’ thinking.

“The rule against that is if it’s a cup final, or last game of the season, you might have to risk someone, if they say ‘yes, I’ll play’.

“But generally speaking, I try and be cautious.

“Some players find it hard. Tom is chomping, and it’s probably me more than him, saying ‘just have another week with us’, but he’s clear-minded, and I’m just saying make sure.

“Be doubly sure everything is good.”

Whether Heaton returns to the thinking at West Brom or not, midfielder Scott Arfield will miss out again: “Scotty has a niggly calf injury, there’s something there, nothing to worry about, but it’s niggling on and on.

“He’ll not be fit for selection.”

Longer-term casualties Robbie Brady and Steven Defour are both coming along nicely, though pre-season looks to be their return date: “Robbie and Steven are good, they’re in good spirits.

“Robbie’s workload is increasing now, so there’s a literal recovery period to let everything heal, then an interim period and a strength period, and he’s going into the strength period where he can increase his workload and the amount of power you put into it.

“Steven is really good, he’s mixing his rehab with us and Belgium, with us in alignment.

“That’s with physios at a National unit there, and they’re really good.

“He was over the other week and feels great.

“He looks well, he’s working hard.

“I don’t think he’ll make the World Cup, but he’s going well and on track.”