Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope faces race to be fit for Man City clash

Burnley v Crystal Palace – Premier League – Turf Moor
(Image credit: Jan Kruger)

Burnley could be without Nick Pope for their Premier League trip to Manchester City on Saturday.

The England goalkeeper needed two stitches in a head injury after taking an accidental blow in making a stunning save at the end of the Clarets’ 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Monday.

Pope has started every Premier League game since the start of last season and, if he is not passed fit, it will mean a first top-flight appearance for 24-year-old Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche said: “We’re waiting on some clearance, so there’s a chance. He was very unlucky. I don’t think it’s going to affect him too much. Whether he’s fit or not, that’s one of those things.

“Obviously Bailey’s been waiting patiently and developing all the time. I think he’s rounding himself into a very good goalkeeper where he’s got a better presence now physically.

“Credit to him, he’s worked really hard in the gym. It’s another good clutch of keepers we’ve got. We want Popey to be fit of course because he’s been terrific for us, but I really believe in the keepers that we’ve got.”

Northern Ireland international Peacock-Farrell joined Burnley from Leeds in August 2019 and made his first-team debut earlier this season in a Carabao Cup game with Millwall.

His second appearance was in the same competition against City, where he impressed despite a 3-0 defeat.

The Clarets go into the weekend’s clash buoyed by an overdue first league win of the season, which lifted them out of the bottom three.

Dyche said: “I thought we were getting closer to what we expected from the team performance-wise. I said all along, if you get that right, you increase your chances of a win.

“We got that win, that was good, against a Crystal Palace side who are going well and doing a good job. Overall I thought we edged it.

“We get a nice three points and everyone reminds ourselves of what we do, and when we do it we’re effective. And that’s what we look to be in our games. That’s the first port of call.

“Maybe the club are a bit more patient because we have been through these times before.

“Every year’s a big challenge, so there’s always an awareness that we can have a tough spell, it’s just that this one has come at the very beginning, which is not ideal, but we’re showing signs of coming through it, that’s the main thing.

“It doesn’t guarantee the next one, that’s for sure, especially when you’re playing someone of the prowess of Man City, but it definitely is a building block to move forward and get ourselves back to where we think we can be.”

The whole of Lancashire was placed into tier three by the Government on Thursday, meaning no imminent return of fans to Turf Moor.

They could play in front of some home spectators, though, when they travel to tier two Arsenal on December 13.

Dyche said: “The rules are the rules. It still applies that we want people safe and well, that’s the first thing. We can only hope that things accelerate due to vaccinations etc and people doing the right thing, which hopefully will keep the numbers low.

“Any fans getting into stadiums, it’s a start, hopefully a very positive start. Home or away fans in the stadium, I think it’s great. They’ve been waiting a long time, we’ve been waiting a long time for it. We totally understand why, of course, but I think it would be a really good thing for football.”

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