Burnley boss Sean Dyche set to face the team which helped his managerial success
Twenty years after an ill-fated spell as a Bristol City player, Burnley boss Sean Dyche is preparing to meet a team he credits with helping him become a managerial success.
Former Chesterfield defender Dyche only had two seasons at Ashton Gate and he spent time on loan with Luton during the second of those campaigns before moving on to Millwall, Watford and Northampton.
Of the five clubs he was permanently on the books of and played for, it was with the Robins where Dyche enjoyed the least personal success, yet, ahead of Bristol City's FA Cup clash with Burnley at Turf Moor, the 45-year-old thinks that stint proved vital for his football education.
"Unfortunately it didn't work out for me there," said Dyche, who has won two promotions to the top flight in three years.
"It worked out for the team - I joined in the first season as they got promoted - but I had a back injury and it just didn't work out for me as a player, it sometimes happens.
"I've always said I learned more in two years there of it not going right than I did from the rest of my career. It was invaluable to understand more about myself, the game, players, fans and dealing with everything, and that has been massively helpful for me when I became a manager."
Dyche is not going through a difficult time of things currently after guiding his Burnley team 10 points clear of the Premier League's bottom three.
It is expected to be a much-changed Clarets line-up for the fourth round of the cup, though the third-round replay win over Sunderland provided evidence that the confidence currently in Dyche's camp runs deep.
"I think it's improved as the season has gone on," Dyche added of that trait.
"There's an adaptation, it's a more challenging level. They've adapted well and with that comes experience and then a bit more of an assured feeling, and I think there's a few who have grown a bit with that. Some have it naturally and with some it needs time to develop.
"We've shown good signs of that. Alongside that they know we've got lots of work to do in front us.
"I've been really pleased with the way the players are growing into a team that look right in the Premier League. There's a look about a team who play in the Premier League and we're getting towards that.
"Lots of people say to me it looks like a group who feel they belong in the Premier League, but of course that doesn't win you a match."
Dyche made seven changes against the Black Cats and the likes of goalkeeper Nick Pope, defender James Tarkowski and midfielder Joey Barton are all set to be restored to the XI once more.