Clarets boss Sean Dyche is paying no attention to reports in the north east linking him with the job at Premier League Sunderland.
It has been suggested that Dyche tops the Black Cats’ wishlist, should head coach Dick Advocaat step down at the Stadium of Light.
It is flattering that there is, and it is only alleged, interest, but it is - with all due respect - just a paper storySean Dyche
The Black Cats sit in the bottom three in the top flight after a miserable start to the season which has seen them take just two points from seven games.
Advocaat decided to return home to Holland in the summer after keeping Sunderland up, but had a last-minute change of heart.
However, his future continues to be up in the air, admitting he would leave if it was in the club’s best interests.
Sunderland are looking to act quickly in the event that the vastly-experienced Advocaat steps aside.
Patrick Vieira has been linked with the post, but the Northern Echo reports that Dyche “would be the club’s preferred choice in the eventuality of Advocaat leaving.”
Dyche was a target in the close season, had Advocaat left then, and Sunderland still hope to persuade Advocaat to stay at the helm now, but the Burnley boss is paying little attention to the speculation ahead of tomorrow night’s televised trip to Rotherham United: “I haven’t read the reports, but I was told me about them.
“I shouldn’t and won’t be thinking too deeply about it.
“It is flattering that there is, and it is only alleged, interest, but it is - with all due respect - just a paper story.
“I’m focused on what we are doing here and the game at Rotherham.”
Another Claret linked with a Premier League return is centre back Michael Keane, who, it is suggested, is interesting Everton and Newcastle United.
Magpies boss Steve McClaren, when in charge at Derby County, previously signed him on loan from Manchester United.
Dyche, again, gave the rumours short shrift: “I’ve been here for almost three years, and I don’t remember a time when we weren’t having players linked with other clubs. There has to be stories, it’s just par for the course.”
Burnley turn their attentions to a first-ever trip to the New York Stadium tomorrow night, and Dyche is hopeful record signing Andre Gray will be fit, after missing Saturday’s home defeat to Reading with a hamstring problem: “We think he’ll be okay. He’s shown good strength over the last couple of days in training, and we expect he will be with us again before the game to prepare.”
Fredrik Ulvestad and Kevin Long featured in the U21 Premier League Cup win over Wigan Athletic on Monday night, but the pair, and Dean Marney, are not in contention to return to the squad just yet: “I was pleased with Freddie and Longy. Freddie has had a couple of niggles, but came through fine on Monday and is well on the way to a true recovery.
“Dean Marney has also had a couple of niggles, but is back on the grass. It was nothing major, and nothing to do with his knee, but he is showing good signs now of getting back to real fitness and getting up to match speed.”
Rotherham parted company with boss Steve Evans on Monday, after two successive wins, and seven points from 12.
Eric Black is in temporary charge, but Dyche says that won’t alter his preparations: “I’ve no clue what has gone on, they seemingly wanted different things. They have had a change, albeit someone who has been around the game a long time, and he will have his own take on things.
“But that is out of our control, we have to look to the controllables, our own performance and our business.
“You can’t second guess what they will change, but we know their individuals and it is down to us to perform.”