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Burnley v Watford: Home side request postponement due to injuries and Covid

Burnley’s last game was a 2-1 defeat by Huddersfield, the champions’ club, in the FA Cup on 8 January

Burnley have applied to postpone Tuesday’s Premier League home game against Watford due to a high number of players with injuries and Covid-19.

Manager Sean Dyche said there were “10 recognized first-team players in training” and added that the side had “gone too far over the threshold”.

The game was originally due to be played in December but was canceled due to an outbreak at Watford.

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

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

The league rules state that a club must play a game when they have 13 outfield players and one goalkeeper at their disposal.

If the game is postponed, it will be the 22nd Premier League game this season to be postponed because of the coronavirus.

As well as the original Watford game, Burnley had games against Aston Villa and Everton postponed in December due to Covid-19 cases at the opposing teams.

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

“We worked hard to start games. If there was a reason for this game, we would prepare as best as we could.

“To bring a real competitive element to a league you have to field a team that is competitive. When you get to a point where you can’t do it anymore, you have to look at that.”

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 in early January.

Burnley confirmed the filing of a request to postpone the Watford game, saying in a statement: “Due to a high number of injuries and Covid-19 cases within the squad, the decision to submit the request was made reluctantly.”

Wood movement ‘not a perfect scenario’ – Dyche

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

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

Dyche said of the comment: “If he was referring to his comfort zone I think it’s fair to say that and I think he would know that we certainly didn’t allow him to sit in his comfort zone.

“If he felt like I understood him a little, maybe you get a freshness, maybe a difference, maybe he felt like he needed that.

“I think he knows he’s been a little calmer than we expected of him – and of himself.”

“Matches cannot be canceled all the time” – analysis

` Sport’s Simon Stone

There’s been a lot of noise surrounding the Premier League’s recent postponements, but the league itself feels it’s doing the right thing.

Firstly, the request must contain a Covid element. Second, it was the coaches themselves who complained around Christmas time that players were more likely to get injured with reduced squads. So from a Premier League perspective, injuries are linked to COVID.

Of course, away players can’t play at the Africa Cup of Nations either, so it’s not always easy to reach the threshold of 13 outfield players plus a goalkeeper.

In addition, the Premier League has received applications that have been rejected. We just don’t tend to hear from them.

The other point is transparency. It has been argued that clubs must explain why players are absent.

But there is an element of patient confidentiality. The league cannot say who is injured and who has Covid unless the players themselves allow it. And while it might be easy to give numbers, you could inadvertently show what absences are, and why – and why those players are returning.

Premier League medical officials have access to the information and it will be used to make decisions about postponements.

It’s clear there will come a point when clubs will be told they have to play. The season must end on May 22, so games cannot be canceled indefinitely.

I don’t think anyone wants to look that far ahead now. But there could be a situation where a club has five games to play – and the complaint about players having too many games is aired again.

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