Belfast Telegraph

Sean Dyche reminds 'terrific' Andre Gray that team comes first on Burnley return

Sean Dyche will welcome Andre Gray back to Turf Moor with a reminder that Burnley's team ethic will always be more important than any individual.

Gray was instrumental in restoring the Clarets' Premier League status in 2015/16, winning the Championship's top scorer and player-of-the-year double, and netted nine important goals as they achieved survival last term.

But he returns as a Watford player on Saturday, having moved for £18.5million on the eve of the season.

Danny Ings, Kieran Trippier and Michael Keane have all followed similar paths, making their name at Burnley before securing big moves, and Dyche believes the club is set up to cope with such departures.

"The history of Burnley, as deep and rich as it is, there's always been players having to be sold to move forwards, it's part of the reality of the club," he said.

"It's not the first time we've had that happen down the years, it's often been the case.

"It's tough when you lose these players because it's not just their skill set, it's their personalities as well, how they fit into the group.

"But there's that real teamship here though, that culture and mentality, and it's not easy to build."

Gray will be hoping an outing in the familiar environs of east Lancashire can kick-start his Hornets career, with just two goals to his name thus far, though Dyche's goodwill comes with an obvious caveat.

"I still send Andre the odd text. Beyond this weekend I wish him well," he said.

"He's a terrific lad, he'll be still finding his feet there, getting used to the players, but he was absolutely top class for us."

Burnley and Watford go into the weekend sitting seventh and eighth respectively, sitting just behind the division's big players.

For either to crack the so-called 'big six' by May would be a huge achievement and one that leaves Dyche pondering Leicester's jaw-dropping title success two seasons ago.

"The miracle that was Leicester is very difficult to repeat. We're all trying to but it's very difficult," he said.

"We're written off every year and we're used to that. When you have such a strong start people will find surprise in that.

"I've made it clear I think we're in a very healthy position, probably more so than I thought we'd be.

"Not because I doubt my group but because we're honest about how tough the league is."

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