Saturday 17 March 2018

Andre Gray's return won't force change of Burnley's formation

Andre Gray alluded to his return in a Twitter post on Saturday
Andre Gray alluded to his return in a Twitter post on Saturday

Andre Gray's imminent return from suspension will not necessarily see Burnley revert to 4-4-2, according to manager Sean Dyche.

The Clarets have been without last season's top scorer for the past four games due to a Football Association suspension imposed on him for homophobic tweets he sent four years ago while still a non-league player.

Rather than selecting a like-for-like replacement and continuing with the two-striker system that has been a feature of his tenure at Turf Moor, Dyche has instead preferred to utilise an attacking midfielder behind Sam Vokes.

And it was Scott Arfield, the man deployed in that role, who claimed the late winner against Everton on Saturday, so Dyche admits he has options ahead of next week's trip to Manchester United.

Gray will be back for that game, a fact he appeared to allude to by posting a picture of a lion behind bars on Twitter on Saturday evening.

"We've enjoyed the way we've looked," Dyche said of the team without Gray.

"A lot of people think I changed it because of his absence, I changed it at Leicester before he was absent, I felt the team needs to be flexible in its planning.

"I've been pleased with the 4-4-1-1 but there is still scope to change it back, I do like playing with two centre forwards but it's nice to know we do have that flexibility when we need it."

Seven days on from a creditable draw at Manchester City, Everton were undone at Burnley despite dominating for large spells in the game.

England stopper Tom Heaton made numerous saves for the hosts and Yannick Bolasie believes even a point for the Toffees would not have been a true reflection of the encounter.

"It's part of football - we went to Man City, we dug in deep, people probably thought we should have lost that game," he told evertontv.

"You look at it, we should have won (against Burnley) and we end up taking no points. We've just got to dust ourselves down and move on to the next game."

Bolasie had brought Ronald Koeman's team back into the game by levelling with his first goal since making the switch from Crystal Palace.

The 27-year-old looked more dangerous after netting too and he believes that opening his account will give him belief to replicate the form that earned him the move.

"It obviously gives you a lift in confidence and you start to do things that you're used to doing," he added. "Personally, confidence is a massive thing in my game."

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