Danny Drinkwater’s loan spell at Burnley has ended after just two appearances for the club.
England midfielder Drinkwater joined the Clarets in August after making only five league starts for Chelsea following a £35million move from Leicester in 2017.
But Drinkwater, who was sidelined for nearly three months after an incident outside a Manchester nightclub in September left him with an ankle injury, departs Turf Moor having played less than two and a half hours of football.
Drinkwater managed just 59 minutes in the Premier League, in the 4-1 home defeat to Manchester City last month, after playing in the Carabao Cup defeat to Sunderland in August.
“He just hasn’t had the pitch-time,” said Burnley manager Sean Dyche, confirming that Drinkwater will return to Chelsea when his loan deal expires on Monday.
“Obviously there was a moment in between when we had injuries where he probably would have played, but these things happen in football.”
Dyche said the nightclub incident had prevented Drinkwater from making his mark in Lancashire.
“He’s been a credit to himself with the way his professionalism has been, other than the incident,” Dyche said before the FA Cup tie with Peterborough.
“The way he’s recovered from that, the way he’s looked after himself, he’s tried to be part of the group.
“We just haven’t got him as much game-time as what he wanted, and what he needs as well.
“But I like him a lot, I like him as a player and a character and I wish him well.
“The incident was unfortunate, it cost us a lot more time than we thought – us and him, of course – and in that time we got reasonably good value from the team with points on the board.”
Dyche, meanwhile, has defended centre-back Ben Mee over the tackle which saw Aston Villa lose striker Wesley for the rest of the season.
The Brazilian suffered a serious knee injury in Villa’s 2-1 win at Burnley on Wednesday following a second-half challenge from Mee.
“I think the player, after it all calmed down, actually said: ‘Yeah, this is football, this is the way it goes,'” Dyche added.
“There was no question of anything other, and nor should there be. It was a simple case really, with arguably one of the country’s best referees (Michael Oliver).
“He gives a goal-kick, VAR gives nothing. It’s just a very unfortunate incident.
“I don’t think anything would be asked if the outcome was not someone getting injured.
“That’s truth of it, and that’s the way it should be viewed.
“Most people in football would be saying if there was no injury: ‘Good covering, really good defending’. It was just an honest player doing a really good job.”
Dyche confirmed he will be making changes against Peterborough, their cup opponents from Sky Bet League One, on Saturday.
He said: “I expect a performance as I always do. Our preparation has been as good as for anyone. We want to win the game.”
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