No guarantees for striker Gray at Old Trafford '“ boss
Clarets boss Sean Dyche admits striker Andre Gray isn't guaranteed a place in the starting line-up at Old Trafford after completing his suspension.
Burnley travel to face Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United on Saturday, with Gray back in the fold after a four-match ban.
In his absence, the Clarets have won twice, and were only denied a deserved point at home to Arsenal by a controversial stoppage time goal.
Sam Vokes has played as a lone forward in the last four games, having had to watch Gray in that role from the bench at Leicester City, and Dyche is pleased to have more options at his disposal: “We’ve enjoyed the way we’ve looked at it, I changed it at Leicester, before Andre’s absence, so it wasn’t because of it.
“I felt the team needs to be flexible in its planning, and I’ve been quite pleased with the way it’s gone, more like a 4-4-1-1.
“There is still scope to change it back, I do like playing with two centre forwards, but it’s nice to know we have that flexibility when we need it.”
Burnley were without three of their five biggest-ever signings for the 2-1 win over Everton at Turf Moor on Saturday - £3m George Boyd, £6m Andre Gray and £7.4m Steven Defour, but Dyche hopes for some good news this week: “Just on Friday, Boydy was struggling a little bit Thursday, he got a knock in the back last week at Southampton, and just couldn’t come through it.
“Andre was missing as well, he comes back into contention now, and Barnesey has had a good week, so that’s improving, and Steven Defour is better news as well from what we thought.
“They’re important players for us, so to miss them and still get that performance is very pleasing.”
Left back Stephen Ward was also replaced late on against Everton with a bruised knee.
The win over the Toffees took the Clarets to 10 points after nine games, having failed to win any of their first 10 games in the Premier League two years ago.
All 10 points have come at Turf Moor, where Burnley have only lost twice since the start of last December – indeed, they have only conceded seven goals at home in that time.
Dyche knows that solidity at home will be vital going forward, though he is eager to transfer that form on the road.
He said: “Over the last three and a half years it’s been a difficult place to come, and we want and need that.
“It’s difficult to get points on the road. The Premier League probably exaggerates that more than most.
“I think Premier League teams seem to be stronger at home, apart from the super powers who can probably go anywhere and take a game on.
“Our mentality is strong away from home, it’s just our performances haven’t been as strong.”
And he smiled: “We have to continue that next week, starting with that easy one at Old Trafford!”