Monday 11 December 2017

Dyche backs Ings to stay focused

Danny Ings is still at Burnley despite interest from other Premier League clubs in January
Danny Ings is still at Burnley despite interest from other Premier League clubs in January

Sean Dyche is confident Danny Ings will be in the right frame of mind for Sunday's meeting with West Brom despite ongoing speculation about his future.

The end of the January transfer window means Ings is certain to be at Burnley for the rest of the season but, with his contract due to run out in the summer, the subject is far from closed.

There have been suggestions Liverpool and Real Sociedad are both looking to secure Ings' signature on a pre-contract agreement, while the 22-year-old has also been linked with a number of other Premier League clubs.

Clarets boss Dyche revealed after last weekend's defeat by Sunderland that he considered leaving Ings out of the starting line-up because of the effect the speculation was having on him.

Dyche, who has made little secret of his frustration at the amount of attention focused on the future of his star striker, said: "I think that's the only game this season where it may have had an effect.

"Players can just have a quiet day, and I thought he had a quiet day, so it might have been nothing other than that. But, with all the media speculation during that little window, I felt it did affect him slightly.

"But I also said this week he'll have a good week's training, which he is doing, and he'll be ready to go.

"There are more players at this club than Danny. He's a wonderful talent, I enjoy working with him. He's a fantastic lad, I like him as a person and as a footballer, he's learning, he's improving; he'll be ready to go hard and the rest of it will take care of itself.

"I've been saying it for months. I'll be saying it next week, the week after. I get it, it's a topic, but he's here to enjoy his football and that's all I ever ask of him.

"The main thing is to play with a smile and, when he's like that, he plays well and we enjoy having him."

Unfortunately for Dyche and Burnley, Ings staying for the rest of the season was overshadowed by a failure to add to the squad on transfer deadline day.

Dyche had hoped to bring in a couple of new faces to boost Burnley's fight against relegation but could not complete any deals.

That left defender Michael Keane, who turned his loan move from Manchester United into a permanent deal, as Burnley's only bit of January business.

Matt Taylor remains sidelined following Achilles surgery and is making slower progress than had been hoped.

Stephen Ward (ankle) is back training with the first team while Kevin Long (knee) will not be fit until next season.

Darren Fletcher is in line for his West Brom debut after signing from Manchester United.

The midfielder is likely to start following his deadline day move, with James Morrison, who will be assessed, struggling with a knee problem.

Fletcher has never experienced a relegation fight, but believes he has the knowledge to aid the Baggies.

"When you win titles, you don't win it by playing fancy football all the time," he said. "There are times you have to dig deep to win football matches.

"I have been there before where I've had to dig deep for results - I have done it with Scotland as well. There are many ways to win a football match and I am quite accustomed to doing that.

"You need a good dressing room and a good team spirit and they have got that; hopefully that can carry us through the rest of the season.

"The manager (Tony Pulis) leaves you under no illusions of what is expected of you on the pitch, how to be off the ball and what you're expected to do with it and we're working hard on that."

Jonas Olsson is training with the squad again after an Achilles injury, but will not feature as the defender is not yet match fit. Boaz Myhill could return to the squad after a hand injury and Graham Dorrans and Brown Ideye will be included after aborted deadline day moves.

Press Association

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