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Dyche critical of Burnley for failing to tie down key players like Hendrick

The Ireland midfielder is one of five Burnley players with a contract that’s due to expire on 30 June.

Jeff Hendrick of Burnley.
Jeff Hendrick of Burnley.
Image: EMPICS Sport

BURNLEY MANAGER SEAN Dyche has expressed his frustration at his bosses at the Premier League club as he faces the prospect of losing five first-team players to free agency.

After a three-month break enforced by Covid-19, Burnley – who sit in 10th place in the English top flight – will return to action on Monday night with a game at Manchester City.

Dyche could soon be forced to contend with a significant personnel shortage as five members of his first-team squad are on contracts that are due to expire on 30 June.

Among the quintet is Republic of Ireland international midfielder Jeff Hendrick, who has been the subject of speculation linking him with Serie A clubs Roma and AC Milan.

Aaron Lennon, Phil Bardsley, Joe Hart and Adam Legzdins are the other players who have yet to agree new deals which would allow them to see out the remainder of the rescheduled season.

Speaking today, Dyche acknowledged the unprecedented circumstances caused by the pandemic. However, he also insisted that he warned the club about the danger of not resolving contract situations before the eleventh hour.

Hendrick and his aforementioned colleagues will remain in contract for Monday’s visit to the Etihad Stadium, as well as a home game against Watford and a trip to Crystal Palace.

Thereafter, Burnley’s six remaining games in the Premier League season are all due to take place in July. By then, as things stand, the players will be free agents.

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Dyche’s problems are compounded by injuries to Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood and Johann Berg Gudmundsson.

“I advised many months ago, before Covid, what situations I felt were important,” he said. “The club are not always thirsty to move things forward quickly, so we’ve had to wait.

“As we’ve done in the past here, we’ve let contracts run a long way down unfortunately. It’s the price you pay if you do that and situations occur.

“No-one saw this situation coming, that is quite obvious. We have got to be hopeful that the players see that they can do their extra month because at the moment that is all the chairman has allowed.

“I think there’s a reality to the club that we have often let contracts go a long time and I suggested 12-18 months ago what would be occurring. I obviously didn’t know about Covid but I felt these situations needed to be affected and they haven’t been.”

Hendrick, who joined Burnley from Derby County in 2016, made 22 starts and two substitute appearances in the 29 Premier League games played by Burnley before the season was postponed.

“Hopefully we’ll get some players tied down,” Dyche added. “If that doesn’t occur, it’s fair to say we’ll be down to a very low squad with the three injuries on top. They are players who play quite a lot for us if you look at Jeff Hendrick, Aaron Lennon and the likes, and then the players that are injured.

“Of course it will affect the group but we’ve shown before that when called upon we’ve got many players here capable of doing the work and providing us with performances that can get results.”

Jimmy Dunne is another member of Burnley’s Irish contingent whose contract is due to expire at the end of this month. However, the 22-year-old defender has yet to make a first-team appearance for the Turf Moor outfit.

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Paul Dollery

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