Burnley v Everton preview: Sean Dyche did not 'dodge a bullet' with Goodison hotseat
Last Updated: 03/03/18 11:22am
Burnley manager Sean Dyche insists he did not "dodge a bullet" when Everton appointed Sam Allardyce instead of him as he prepares to face the Toffees this weekend, live on Sky Sports.
Dyche was linked with the vacancy at Goodison Park after Ronald Koeman was sacked last October, but Allardyce was chosen as the Dutchman's successor.
The game at Turf Moor on Saturday is Dyche's 250th in charge of the Clarets, and he denied being approached by Everton in the autumn, underlining his commitment to his current employers.
"There was no bullet to dodge," he said. "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 are clinging onto seventh place in the Premier League despite failing to win a league match since beating Stoke City 1-0 on December 12, but their opponents have endured far from ideal preparations.
Ninth-placed Everton can go level on points with only a second league away win in 22 matches, but the Merseyside club have been affected by the adverse weather conditions in the UK.
Allardyce confirmed that plans have been affected, with the players forced to train indoors after the Met Office issued a yellow weather warning until midday on Friday.
The Blues boss said: "We're unlikely to get on the pitch today because of the wind, it's so fierce we're barely able to keep the ball on the floor. We'd have to have someone to put their finger on it to keep it still! We have a small indoor area we'll work at today so it's been a problem.
When Campbell met Dyche
Sean Dyche talks to Clarets fan Alastair Campbell about Burnley v Everton, the club's season so far and his England ambitions
"We've all suffered from the weather this week. We have the analysts who give the right info to the players so they'll still visually see what Burnley do and what their strengths and weaknesses are.
"For tomorrow they have to take that information into the game and go and play their best."
Burnley are set to have the fit-again James Tarkowski back involved on Saturday when they take on Everton at Turf Moor.
The defender, sidelined for the last four matches, stepped up his recovery from a groin problem by playing the full duration of a behind-closed-doors game against Preston on Tuesday.
It remains to be seen if there is any involvement for goalkeeper Tom Heaton, who also played for the entirety of the Preston match - the goalkeeper has been out since September, when he dislocated his shoulder. It is expected Scott Arfield (calf) will still be unavailable.
Full-backs Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines return to the Everton squad but on-loan Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
Allardyce is confident that James McCarthy could be involved in pre-season following his operation on a double leg break, and the game arrives too soon for centre-back Ramiro Funes Mori, who is set to play for the U23s again as he builds up his fitness after spending 10 months out with a knee injury.
Burnley won the reverse fixture at Goodison Park back in October - they've not won both league games against Everton in a season since the 1959-60 campaign, when they won the top-flight title.
None of the seven previous Premier League meetings between these sides has finished level, with Everton winning four and Burnley being victorious in three.
The Clarets have only lost one of their last seven top-flight home games against Everton (1-3 in October 2014), winning two of their three in the Premier League at Turf Moor.
Burnley are winless in their last 11 Premier League games (D6 L5); the longest current run in the division and their second longest run in the competition after a run of 12 in January 2010.
Everton have won the fewest percentage of their Premier League points this season away from home (24 per cent - 8/34), while Burnley have won the lowest percentage in home games (51 per cent - 19/37).
Indeed, Everton have picked up just one win from their last 22 Premier League away games (D9 L12), losing the last four in a row.
It's been a weird season for Burnley so far. If they didn't start the season like they did they would be right in the mix for relegation. I cannot remember the last time they won a football match.
Meanwhile, I watched Everton against Watford last weekend and it wasn't good. The way Everton are playing now I'd be surprised if Sam Allardyce was there next season. I know he's got a contract beyond that but I can't see him staying.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1 (9/2 with Sky Bet)