Six struggling for fitness ahead of Clarets’ FA Cup tie at Oakwell

LATEST CASUALTY: Martin Paterson picked up an injury at Hillsborough on Tuesday
LATEST CASUALTY: Martin Paterson picked up an injury at Hillsborough on Tuesday
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CLARETS boss Sean Dyche faces an injury headache ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup third round tie at Barnsley.

Burnley could be without up to six first team players for the trip to the managerless Tykes, who sacked Keith Hill after slumping to the bottom of the Championship after defeat at home to Blackburn on Saturday.

Dyche’s side won 2-0 at Sheffield Wednesday on New Year’s Day without 23-goal top-scorer Charlie Austin (hamstring), Dean Marney (thigh), Ben Mee (knee) and Junior Stanislas (hamstring), while Chris McCann (hamstring) and Martin Paterson (thigh) were taken off as a precaution at Hillsborough.

Brian Stock was also forced off late on with cramp, but will be available at Oakwell.

Dyche hopes Paterson and McCann’s injuries were nipped in the bud but their early withdrawal, and said: “We’re not thinking they’re that serious.

“Obviously we don’t want to tempt fate, but we got Pato and Macca off quite quickly, and they came off themselves quite quickly.

“It’s one of the things I’ve talked about, heroes are not for Christmas, they’re for one-offs, a cup final at the end of the season, but not mid-season, you need to get them off so they heal quick and you can get them back out there.

“I’m pleased to say they got off quickly, and we’ll find out more before the weekend.

“Pato had a problem with his thigh, Macca his hamstring and Stocky had a bit of cramp, more than anything, as the pitch was indifferent.”

Marney, who had started all bar one league game prior to the trip to South Yorkshire, was absent with a thigh problem picked up against Leicester on Saturday, but as Dyche said: “Dean is not an overly serious one either and we are hoping that will settle down quickly.”

Austin came off early against the Foxes after suffering a recurrent of the hamstring tightness that forced him off on Boxing Day against Derby.

It has been suggested Austin could be out for another week or so, but Dyche is confident he will be back shortly to continue his goalscoring ways, after a 2012 that saw only Jordan Rhodes outscore him in the Premier League and Football League: “With Charlie, people heal at different rates, it’s a straight-forward hamstring injury, there’s no complications so it’s just how quickly it heals.”

It was the first time the Clarets had won without Austin in the side since December 31st, 2011, and Dyche smiled: “He’s got to get back in the team first if we keep winning! 2-0’s a decent result away from home against a team who’ve just taken 10 points from 12, with four clean sheets!”

Stanislas, meanwhile, has missed the last three games with a hamstring problem, and Mee the last month with the knee injury suffered against Blackburn.

He is unlikely to be ready for the weekend, but his rehabilitation is going well.

After moving to within four points of the play-off places with the win at Wednesday, the league is put on hold tomorrow for the cup - a competition in which Dyche boasts a semi-final goal with Chesterfield in their incredible run in 1997.

Although it would be nice to get another chance to climb up the table, Dyche said: “It is what it is, the games come as they do, I’m not worried about that. The FA Cup is a great thing, it’s great for the game, and we’ll be ready to go again, for sure.”

Meanwhile, he hailed the performance of Keith Treacy, after he came off the bench to score the opener and win a penalty in the 2-0 win at Wednesday: “Keith got himself a goal and was unlucky not to get a brace.

“It’s good to see him enjoying his football, simple as that.

“I haven’t done anything - he’s done it, I just offered him a chance.

“We’re here to achieve something, this is the culture we’ve set, we offered him the chance to join it, and he has - great.

“We move forward.

“That’s on offer to everyone.

“He showed moments, but there’s more to come, over time, with performances, if he plays every week or when he gets the chance to play, that real match-fitness will come, and that sharpness, and long may it continue.

“But it’s not a given, you have to earn the right to stay out there.

“He was a very young, well-thought of talente at Blackburn, with one or two snags along the way, which can happen, and he’s found himself here, a new manager comes in, you offer him a chance to be part of what you’re doing, and he’s run with it.

“But he has that X-Factor, that moment of quality, that inner belief some players have to deal with the ball - some tend to not show you what they would if their confidence is low, but he wants the ball all the time, as do a number at this club.”

Football transfer news and gossip as it happens in the build up to deadline day on January 31st

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