Sunday 18 March 2018

I didn't dodge a bullet with Everton job, insists Dyche

Burnley manager Sean Dyche. Photo: PA
Burnley manager Sean Dyche. Photo: PA

Phil Medlicott

Burnley boss Sean Dyche insists "there was no bullet to dodge" when Everton chose Sam Allardyce instead of him to be their manager.

After the Toffees sacked Ronald Koeman in October, Dyche was one of the favourites with bookmakers to become the Dutchman's successor - a job Allardyce subsequently landed.

The Clarets host Everton tomorrow in Dyche's 250th match in charge of Burnley, with the clubs lying seventh and ninth in the Premier League respectively.

Everton's away form, in particular, has been unimpressive under Allardyce and they trail Burnley by three points.

Reports have already claimed Everton may not see Allardyce as a long-term option.

But when asked if he felt he may have dodged a bullet by not landing the Everton job, Dyche said: "There was no bullet to dodge. I was here, I said I was going to be here, and I'm still here. It was an outside story. I've had a few of them, in the right way actually, since I've been here.

"This is my 250th game. I'm still here, I'm still working hard, and I still have the fire in my stomach to be successful here and to continue to create an atmosphere and a culture and environment that can be successful. That is my focus."

Burnley head into the contest without a win in their last 11 league matches, having drawn 1-1 with Southampton last week and lost 1-0 to Swansea in their previous outing.

"I questioned a few things that happened last week," said Dyche. "And we were below par against Swansea.but other than that, in the run we've had, we've actually delivered some very good performances I feel.

"So it's to not go too far away from the performance level, but, of course, add to it enough to get a win - and once you get one, we know that often it changes.

"We've done very well over the season but we want to get back to winning ways, it's simple."

James Tarkowski could make his return to competitive action after missing four games with a groin problem.

The defender played the full duration of Burnley's behind-closed-doors friendly against Preston on Tuesday and is "certainly in the thinking" for tomorrow, Dyche said.

Goalkeeper Tom Heaton is also on the comeback trail, after his 90-minute run-out in the Preston game.

Heaton has not made a competitive first-team appearance since dislocating his shoulder in September, with Nick Pope shining in the Burnley goal in his absence.

Dyche said of Heaton: "He's certainly coming back towards the thinking. He'll let us know when he is fully ready - and, of course, he knows the form of Popey as well, and that he has to deal with that.."

Michael Keane is set to make his first Turf Moor appearance since leaving Burnley to join Everton last summer. "I'd be amazed if he got anything other than a very good reception," Dyche said when asked about the defender.

"He was a fine player for Burnley. We'll enjoy having him back, albeit for a fleeting day. He was terrific for us both on and off the pitch."

Irish Independent

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