Sean Dyche faces another balancing act as Burnley prepare for Thursday’s crunch Europa League encounter against a talented Istanbul Basaksehir side.
After overcoming Aberdeen and securing a goalless draw in Turkey last week, the Clarets’ first European campaign since 1961 continues at Turf Moor.
Olympiakos or Luzern await the winner of Thursday’s third qualifying round second leg as Burnley look to continue balancing domestic and continental exertions.
The return leg falls between a goalless draw in the Premier League opener at Southampton and Sunday’s home match against Watford, compounding Dyche’s issues with squad numbers.
“It makes it more difficult because of the timing, I think,” the Burnley boss said.
“If you’re up and running, and the players get into that rhythm of playing constant games, whether it’s Saturday-Tuesday in the Championship or Thursday-Sunday currently for us.
“It’s slightly different but the point is you start the end of pre-season almost before players are properly up and running, so therefore we’re just being a bit more careful that we normally would.
“As everyone knows, I think the players are fit and well, they get supported fantastically, so we get on with it and we play the team every game that we think is right.
“With this, I think we’re playing teams that are right but I think we’re also playing teams that are balanced in lieu of what we’re going to need for the next game.
“Going into the league programme last week at Southampton and then continuing the league programme obviously this Sunday against Watford, there has to be a balance and I think it’s hard to find the balance but that’s what we’re looking to do.”
Robbie Brady, Steven Defour, Nick Pope, Tom Heaton and Matej Vydra remain unavailable, although Chris Wood returned from an infected insect bite at Saints.
Anders Lindegaard is also out with a thigh complaint, meaning Joe Hart will start his third game as Dyche continues to be puzzled by debate over the England international’s arrival.
“Random injury to Popey, Anders goes down with a thigh, Tom Heaton has got a calf,” the Burnley manager said. “It’s not rocket science all the time, you know?
“I think probably the only difference is that we signed Joe and it wasn’t a loan type period. But I am pleased with the business.
“At the end of the day why would we not want, as Burnley Football Club, a real competitive unit like goalkeepers and all very, very good in my opinion? Well, I would want that and we’ve got it, so I am really pleased with it.”
Hart could be facing some familiar faces in the Basaksehir side, given former Manchester City team-mate Emmanuel Adebayor is back in contention after missing a first leg that Gael Clichy started.
“He’s a very good player, a very experienced player,” Dyche said of Adebayor.
“I think he’s playing slightly differently from what we’ve seen when he does play there, slightly more of a floating role across the pitch and they play quite open anyway.
“But a very experienced player, a very good player.”
Johann Berg Gudmundsson knows a thing or two about going deep in this competition, twice helping AZ Alkmaar reach the quarter-finals.
That run, coupled with his widespread experience playing for Iceland, makes the 27-year-old upbeat about last week’s goalless draw in a city that British clubs have often found tough.
“We know we have to score to go through, so we are definitely going to be more attacking,” Gudmundsson said.
“But that’s the Europa League, when you go away, you sometimes you need to shut the shop down and keep the goal clean and then obviously if you can nick a goal, but if you go away with a 0-0 you’ll take that and go to your home and try to do it there.”