Watford v Burnley preview: Sean Dyche to make decision over Tom Heaton
Last Updated: 06/04/18 10:55pm
Sean Dyche must decide whether to include the returning Tom Heaton in his matchday squad as Burnley travel to his former side Watford in the Premier League.
Heaton is fit to return to action after being sidelined since September with a dislocated shoulder, although Nick Pope is expected to stay as first choice in the short-term.
Dyche also has experienced stopper Anders Lindegaard - who signed a one-year contract extension on Thursday - and Adam Legzdins in his ranks, and welcomes the competition for the No 1 shirt.
"I don't think it is difficult to balance," said Dyche. "Tom knows the job, as does Anders and [Adam] Legzdins behind them. Goalies know the script.
"Whether you're first choice, second choice or fighting to get involved, that is just the lie of the land with goalkeepers.
"Pope is doing nicely, he's playing well and having a good season. Tom has been a fantastic servant over time and Anders and Legz are still looking to earn their spurs here."
Watford are currently in 11th place on 37 points - nine behind Burnley - and while manager Javi Gracia recognises the Clarets' good season, he is only focused on his own side.
"Burnley are having an amazing season, but I am only focused on trying to make sure they lose their next game," he said.
"I prefer to speak about my team. I see in this moment my players with ambition, they are very demanding of each other, and we will see where Watford finish at the end of the season.
"First of all we will try to reduce the distance between us this weekend. We will try to get three points and reduce the gap to six points. That is my objective in this moment."
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Burnley could be without defender Ben Mee, who is struggling with a knock, while Johann Berg Gudmundsson (calf) will not be risked. Dyche also confirmed the Scott Arfield and Jonathan Walters (knee) remain unavailable.
Watford defender Christian Kabasele has returned to training after his hamstring problem and could be back in contention for the Premier League match.
Craig Cathcart made his return from a hip injury as a substitute against Bournemouth last weekend and should be involved again.
Gerard Deulofeu (foot) is stepping up his rehabilitation while Nathaniel Chalobah is working in the gym following a knee problem. Tom Cleverley (thigh) and Younes Kaboul (foot) are also continuing their recovery.
The home side has won all three Premier League meetings between these teams, with Watford winning this exact fixture 2-1 last season.
Burnley are looking to secure their first league double over Watford since the 2010-11 season when they were in the Championship.
The Hornets have conceded a league-high 27 goals in the opening 45 minutes of Premier League games this season - as many as Sean Dyche's side have in total in 2017-18.
Chris Wood has been directly involved in five of Burnley's last six Premier League goals (4 goals, 1 assist).
The Clarets have already won six Premier League away games this season, more than they had in their previous seasons in the competition combined (5). They last won more in a single top-flight campaign back in 1965-66 (9).
Good game. Watford have nothing to play for, they're safe, so they'll just go out and play. Burnley make it difficult for anybody they play, they've been outstanding. I'm going to have to go for a score draw.
Who knows if Burnley could catch Arsenal? They went about eight weeks without winning a football match and now they're in a good spell. They've been brilliant in general this season.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1 (9/2 with Sky Bet)