Game Burnley v Watford: Home side requests postponement because of injuries and Covid

Game Burnley v Watford: Home side requests postponement because of injuries and Covid

Game

game Burnley playing Huddersfield
Burnley’s last game was a 2-1 defeat to Championship side Huddersfield in the FA Cup on 8 January

Burnley has requested Tuesday’s Premier League game at home against Watford be postponed because of a high number of players with injuries and Covid-19.

Manager Sean Dyche said there were “10 recognised first-team players in training”, adding the side has gone “too far past the threshold”.

The fixture was originally due to be played in December but was called off because of an outbreak at Watford.

The Premier League said the request would be reviewed later on Monday.

The Clarets’ game against Leicester on Saturday was also postponed.

League rules say a club must play a game if they have 13 outfield players and one goalkeeper available.

If the game is postponed, it will be the 22nd top-flight match this season to be rescheduled because of coronavirus.

As well as the original Watford fixture, Burnley had games against Aston Villa and Everton postponed in December because of Covid-19 cases among the opposing teams.

“I can assure you we don’t want to be three, four games behind everyone else,” Dyche said.

“We’ve worked hard to get games on. If there was a reason for this game to go ahead we’d prepare as we can.

“To bring true competitive element to a league you need to put out a team that’s competitive. When you get to a point where you can’t that needs to be looked at.”

The Turf Moor club were without Dyche and a number of first-team players because of the virus when they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Championship side Huddersfield Town earlier in January.

Confirming their submission of an application to postpone the Watford game, Burnley said in a statement: “The decision was reluctantly made to submit the application due to a high number of injuries and Covid-19 cases within the squad.”

Wood move ‘not a perfect scenario’ – Dyche

Dyche said that losing Chris Wood to Newcastle was not a “perfect scenario” after the New Zealand striker signed for Burnley’s relegation rivals on Thursday.

Following the move Wood, who had been at Turf Moor for four and a half years, said “nothing great ever happens in your comfort zone”.

Dyche said of the comment: “If he referenced his comfort zone I think it’s fair to say that and I think he would know it certainly wasn’t us allowing him to sit in his comfort zone.

“If he felt that I understand slightly, you maybe get a freshness, maybe difference, maybe he felt he needed that.

“I think he knows he was a bit quieter than we expected from him – and from himself.”

‘Games cannot keep being called off’ – Analysis

BBC Sport’s Simon Stone

There is a lot of noise around the recent Premier League postponements but the league itself feel they are acting properly.

Firstly, there has to be a Covid element to the request. Secondly, it was the managers themselves around Christmas time who were complaining that with reduced squads, players were more likely to get injured. So, in the Premier League’s view, injuries are COVID related.

Clearly, those away at the Africa Cup of Nations cannot play either, so meeting the threshold of 13 outfield players plus a goalkeeper is not always straightforward.

In addition, the Premier League have received requests that were denied. We just don’t tend to hear about them.

The other point is transparency. It has been argued clubs should have to state why players are missing.

But there is a patient confidentiality element to this. The league cannot say who is injured and who has Covid unless the players themselves allow it. And whilst it might be easy to give numbers, you could accidentally show what absences are for what reasons – and why those players start to return.

Premier League medical officials do have access to the information and this is being used to frame decisions around postponements.

Clearly there will come a point when clubs are told they have to play. The season must finish on 22 May, so games cannot keep being called off indefinitely.

I don’t think anyone wants to look that far ahead just yet. But there could be a situation where a club has five outstanding games to fit in – and the complaint about players having too many matches will be being aired again.

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