West Brom v Burnley: Inside track on the Clarets

West Brom face Burnley as their Premier League campaign resumes following the international break - get the inside track on the Clarets here.

We spoke with Dave Roberts, from the No Nay Never Podcast, and Andy Jones, Burnley reporter for The Athletic, to get a proper look at Sean Dyche's side.

See what they had to say here...

How has the start of the season treated Burnley?

DR: In terms of results, injuries and the transfer window, it's fair to say it's been a disappointing start to the season for Burnley on all three fronts.

However, it's still early enough in the campaign to string a couple of wins together, and then the whole situation starts to look a bit more encouraging.

Time will tell, as to whether we have the squad depth to compete and to progress, although hopefully the situation with injuries will begin to ease.

AJ: To put it simply, not very well. Burnley have lost all three Premier League games so far and while they did progress to the Carabao Cup fourth round by beating Sheffield United and Millwall, they were knocked out by Manchester City.

The team haven't looked at their best so far this season. Sean Dyche has been frustrated that his team have lost focus in key moments of games and been punished.

Things still haven't quite clicked offensively whilst defensively, Burnley have missed the partnership of James Tarkowski and Ben Mee and haven't looked as solid as they did last season when they registered 15 clean sheets. They need to tighten up at the back.

Dyche gave the players the first week of the international break off to recharge their batteries after an intense start to the season. The players have returned in positive spirits with a determination to attack the next block of fixtures and put some points on the board.

They have faced difficult runs of form before and the belief that they can turn it around again is there.

What sort of transfer business has happened at Turf Moor, it seems to have been very quiet?

DR: Apart from back-up goalkeeper Will Norris, who was signed from Wolves, and midfielder Dale Stephens from Brighton, Burnley haven't signed any other players for the senior squad.

Bearing in mind the players that have left recently, it feels like we are still at least a couple of bodies short.

Sean Dyche.

Despite there being one or two younger players, who have started to make it to the fringes of the first team, the feeling among Clarets supporters seems to be that it has been another disappointing transfer window, and the club hasn't backed Sean Dyche to the extent that it should have done.

AJ: Very quiet is the perfect way to sum it up. Burnley added just two players to their first team squad this summer in goalkeeper Will Norris, signed from Wolves, who adds depth to the goalkeeping department and experienced central midfielder Dale Stephens, who arrived from Brighton.

Burnley boss Dyche has been vocal about feeling the club ideally needed to add one or two more bodies on top of those two signings.

Burnley's financial constraints mean it is tough for them to operate in the market and it has proven so again. The club lost four players in Jeff Hendrick, Aaron Lennon, Joe Hart and Adam Legzdins back in June after their contracts expired and didn't replace all of them.

The club was in negotiations over a deal for Liverpool's Harry Wilson but Burnleu pulled out after an agreement over a fee couldn't be reached. Therefore, the two transfer window deadlines passed by without any further additions.

It was quiet on the outgoings front too with the only senior departure being Ben Gibson. He joined Norwich on a season-long loan with an option of a permanent deal.

Importantly for Burnley, arguably their best bit of business was keeping hold of their star players. James Tarkowski was subject of strong interest from West Ham and Leicester but neither met the asking price set by the club and he remained.

What are the expectations around the club this season, some pundits seem to be predicting struggles for the Clarets?

DR: When you're not one of the so called 'big six' teams, the first target always has to be survival and 17th place, but we have shown that we are capable of doing much better than that, with two top ten finishes in the last three seasons.

Despite the poor start to this season, I still think there is the potential to push on towards the top ten again, but experience suggests there is a relatively fine line between mere survival, and finishing 10th.

AJ: It is certainly going to be a challenge for Burnley this season but so is every new campaign for Dyche and his side.

They are a side that has over-achieved time and again during his reign including two top ten finishes in the last three seasons so there is confidence and belief in the group even with their poor start to the season.

A number of teams around them have strengthened in the transfer market which is something Burnley haven't been able to do as they would have liked.

The small squad they have, especially considering the relentless schedule this season, is somewhat of a concern. The injury issues they have already had this season have highlighted that and if they continue it is going to place huge demands on the squad.

Burnley have made a habit of overcoming the odds though. They don't get too high or too low and they have a squad packed with Premier League experience. As always the first target of the season is reaching 40 points.

What kind of football can we expect from Burnley at The Hawthorns?

DR: Any team can have an off-day, but Burnley are usually an honest hard-working side that like to make it difficult for the opposition, whether at home or on the road.

We're never likely to play our opponents off the park and win 5-0, but you usually know you've been in a game when you play a Sean Dyche side.

His players are always briefed to give maximum effort, and no matter which eleven players are out on the pitch, they have been well prepared to fulfil their roles individually and as part of the wider team structure.

AJ: With Burnley, what you see is what you get. They will set up in a 4-4-2 and look to play common sense football.

It will be a physical encounter and Dyche's side will not allow West Brom to settle or become comfortable. Defensively they will look to press when they can before transitioning into their narrow defensive framework which has served them so well over the years.

Going forwards, they are not a side who will look to build from the back too often. Burnley look to get the ball forwards quickly via long passes to their two forwards creating second ball opportunities.

When they pick up possession in the opposition half, they look to play quick, effective football to supply the two strikers. Dwight McNeil is the key man, and the youngster has become a vital cog in Burnley's system as he is their chief playmaker from open play.

Are there any injury worries at the club right now?

DR: There have been several injuries, the most notable being our captain Ben Mee.

Burnley's Ashley Westwood

The squad has suffered a catalogue of injuries since the beginning of Project Restart last season, and although it didn't appear to affect us much during the run-in, the issues seem to have carried on into the current campaign, and are now affecting us more.

Jack Cork is another regular first teamer who is currently out, but Ashley Barnes is already back from his longer term injury, and it looks like former West Brom player Jay Rodiguez will be available again on Monday evening, after suffering a recent ankle injury.

AJ: Injuries has been the most used word around Turf Moor this season. The club have been hit hard by them which has left an already small squad depleted even further.

Jay Rodriguez missed the last three games before the international break due to an ankle injury but he is in contention to be in the matchday squad on Monday. He has been back training with the rest of the first team squad over the past week. Johann Berg Gudmundsson is another who could be involved. He suffered a tight groin whilst on international duty with Iceland, but Burnley are hopeful it will settle down and he will be available.

Burnley will definitely be without three senior players. Ben Mee (thigh), Matt Lowton (ankle) and Jack Cork (ankle) are all ruled out. They are all making good progress at their various stages of rehabilitation but they will not be fit for Monday.

What's your predicted XI for the game?

DR: I think Sean Dyche might decide to keep the same team that played prior to the international break, which is Pope in goal, with a back four of Bardsley, Long, Tarkowski and Taylor, then Brownhill, Stephens, Westwood and McNeil across midfield, and Barnes up front with Wood.

The main doubt would be Kevin Long, who suffered an eye injury last weekend with the Republic of Ireland, but Jimmy Dunne would be his potential replacement. I foresee Matej Vydra and Jay Rodriguez being kept as attacking options from the bench.

AJ: There are a few interesting selection decisions for Dyche to ponder mainly in midfield.

Josh Brownhill started on the right against Newcastle with Dale Stephens playing in central midfield but with Robbie Brady back fit he provides another option on the flank. Brownhill has been excellent in the central midfield role when deployed there and he has formed a really good partnership with Ashley Westwood. The rest of the side pretty much picks itself.

My predicted XI: Pope; Bardsley, Long, Tarkowski, Taylor; Brady, Brownhill, Westwood, McNeil; Barnes, Wood.

What have you made of West Brom from afar, do you think they'll have what it takes to survive in the PL this season?

DR: I don't think it will be easy for West Brom this season, but teams like Sheffield United last season have shown how it is possible to take the step up and flourish.

Burnley's Ashley Westwood

In some ways, having played in the Premier League relatively recently, West Brom should be better equipped, in terms of club structure, but it doesn't always work out that way, and they will need to establish some degree of consistency if they are going to be able to maintain what the club worked so hard to achieve last season.

AJ: It is going to be tough for West Brom this season to survive but they have shown glimpses in their opening four games to suggest that they have the quality to compete in this division.

The defensive side of the pitch is clearly the area which West Brom need to improve to give themselves a better chance of staying in the league. Shipping 13 goals in four games is not pretty and finding a way to shore up that area of their game will be key.

At the other end of the pitch, the signing of Karlan Grant was the last of a number of exciting attacking players that West Brom have added in this window including Grady Diangana and Callum Robinson. They will need all of them to contribute in the goalscoring and creativity department.

Your match prediction?

DR: I already give my predictions each week when we record the Preview Show for the @NoNayNever podcast, and so I'll repeat the prediction I gave there - I still think that Burnley could win, but I'm going to go with my head rather than my heart and predict a 1-1 draw.

AJ: I think given the fact both sides are yet to pick up a victory this season it could be quite a cagey affair. Burnley need to get their first points on the board and they will want to get back to showing the defensive stability which is the foundation for their performances.

I get the feeling it will be a physical and low scoring encounter. Dyche constantly talks about being on the right side of the margins in games. Burnley haven't so far but these are the games over the years that they have found a way to win.

I will go 1-0 to Burnley.

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