Sean Dyche is hoping Burnley will head to Tottenham this weekend with a bit more of a spring in their step after a full week of preparations.
Burnley have navigated a hectic run of fixtures with a small squad stretched further by injuries, and looked tired in last Saturday’s goalless draw with 10-man West Brom.
But with no game in the days since – the longest break between fixtures since the postponement of their game against Fulham in early January – Burnley have enjoyed a much-needed breather this week while the injury situation has eased.
“It’s been useful just for a bit of recuperation,” Dyche said. “I said after the last game that we’d fallen way off our mark. We looked jaded.
“We’d had 13 games in 42 days, we’ve got another three coming up this week, and when you’ve got injuries you are asking a lot of the players who are being rolled out there constantly.
“It’s not a gripe. That’s the challenge of the situation as we all know. It’s not a gripe but it is a reality.
“But they’ve been really good in training in the week. We’ve had a couple of days off, a couple of days in. But they look brighter, and a bit brighter behind the eyes as well so I’m pleased with that.”
The break has allowed Chris Wood and Dale Stephens to return to training, while Jay Rodriguez has shaken off a knock.
However, Robbie Brady and Ashley Barnes remain sidelined and Johann Berg Gudmundsson is also unlikely to feature, with Erik Pieters described as “touch and go”.
“It’s a mixed bag really,” Dyche said. “Two or three maybe can figure but the rest we’re still waiting on.”
If Burnley were off their game last weekend, Tottenham have fallen short of expectations for a number of weeks, having won just one of their last six league games.
But Dyche said he had no doubts about their quality.
“Jose Mourinho is someone I have the maximum respect for after what he’s done and what he’s won,” he said.
“There have been a few questions but at Tottenham there always are if things aren’t going exactly how you want, but they’re still a top outfit, a top manager, top players, a top club…
“In one way it’s pleasing to see that everyone can have an indifferent spell. Certainly Liverpool didn’t last season but even Manchester City this season, they’ve been incredible but there were funny questions at the start, a couple of odd results like the (5-2 defeat) against Leicester, so it’s refreshing that they can have quiet spells.
“But you can never be naive enough to think that it’s just your day when it all works out. They’re still a top outfit so you still have to be right on top of what you do. You can’t wait for things against anybody in the Premier League.”
Much of the spotlight at Spurs has fallen on goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, leading to reports linking Tottenham with a summer move for Burnley’s Nick Pope.
A price of £50million has been quoted, but Dyche laughed off those reports.
“If they offered a bag of crisps and a pint of lager, the way things are going, I might actually take it,” he said.
“If someone can find a way of changing the rules of the country to get me a pint and a bag of a crisps, I’d have to try and hang on to Popey best I could.”