Pope is not a million miles away says Burnley captain

Tom Heaton has confirmed that goalkeeper Nick Pope is recovering well and isn't a million miles away from a return.

Thursday, 4th October 2018, 6:00 pm
Updated Friday, 5th October 2018, 2:33 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, who was part of the 23-man squad that travelled to the World Cup in Russia during the summer, sustained a similar injury to Heaton when dislocating his shoulder in July.

Pope was withdrawn in the 14th minute of the Europa League qualifier against Aberdeen at Pittodrie following a collision with James Tarkowski and was replaced by Anders Lindegaard.

Clarets club captain Heaton, voted player of the year for the 2016/17 campaign, can empathise with his team-mate after suffering a similar fate last season, and was sidelined for just short of 12 months as a result.

With Pope on the comeback trail following a successful operation on his shoulder, Heaton said: “Popey’s looking okay and he’s doing well. He looks a lot further down the line than I was. He’s got a smile on his face and I don’t think it will be too long until he’s back out on the grass.

“I don’t know dates but he’s not a million miles away. It’s been tough, especially on the back of what happened last year with his England cap. He certainly seems okay and moving in the right direction.” Heaton has found his chances limited since returning to action, playing twice against Olympiakos in Europe and one more time in the Carabao Cup defeat to Burton Albion last month.

It’s been a frustrating revival for the 32-year-old but he’s channelling those energies in to something more positive.

“It’s been frustrating,” he said. “It’s tough when you’re not playing. That’s what you want to do but it’s part and parcel of being a professional footballer.

“You have to channel that energy in to working hard and improving and that’s what I’m trying to do. We all have a good relationship so there are no problems.”