SEAN Dyche is hoping the addition of a Reggae Boy can help fire his squad to a prosperous 2013.
Winger Dane Richards, capped 41 times by Jamaica, officially joins the Clarets today although he is unlikely to feature at Sheffield Wednesday.
But Dyche is confident that Richards can make an impact in the Championship having watched the 28-year-old closely in training over the past few days.
“It’s learning about Dane as he comes in with the group, learning about him and what he offers and see where that takes us,” said Dyche.
“He’s been training with us for a couple of days.
“Training’s important and I value training, but you can’t judge a player in training as regards playing.
“We’ll judge him wisely and get him integrated into the squad, which he already has been doing.”
Richards has spent his entire career playing in the MLS in America where he made nearly 150 appearances for New York Red Bulls, playing alongside Thierry Henry, before moving onto Vancouver Whitecaps for the 2012 season.
His arrival will further strengthen the Clarets midfield with Richards, who favours playing on the right, likely to compete with Ross Wallace, Junior Stanislas and the returning Keith Treacy for a starting spot.
Treacy was handed a surprise start in Saturday’s home defeat to Leicester City and Dyche is confident that the former Blackburn man will continue his road to full fitness believing the 27-year-old could offer something different to the Clarets attacking options.
“His fitness is getting better and better and we felt that (Leicester) might be the appropriate day. He did okay.
“He’s come on quite a long journey really from where he was to where he is now.
“We think good things of him, as we do with many other players.
“The only way you can get really fit is to play matches, as we all know.
“It’s important we integrate players when we can to get them up to that real fitness level.”
Dyche knows his side will be in for a tough test away at Dave Jones’ Wednesday, who have put together a four-game unbeaten run.
“They’ve had a couple of good results but I think it’s fair to say that a lot of teams over a season will have that spell, Peterborough is another one recently, although they lost on Saturday,” said the Burnley boss.
“There is no such thing as an easy game in the Championship. We treat everyone, top or bottom of the Championship, with respect and make sure the players know we're going to have to play hard to win.”
And Dyche is hoping his players can rise to the occasion of playing in Wednesday’s impressive stadium, known for creating an intimidating atmosphere.
“I once played in a semi-final there so it’s a nice venue and a nice place to go and play,” he added.
“They’re always nice when you win. The replay wasn’t so good, we got stuffed, but the first game was decent.”
One man who knows the Hillsborough atmosphere inside out is Clarets goalkeeper Lee Grant who spent three years with the Owls.
“It’s a really good ground – it’s a great one to play in if you're the home side but also a nice one to play in if you’re on the away team because you know the atmosphere’s going to be good,” said Grant.
“There will be plenty of fans in there regardless of where the team are in the division and regardless of what division they’re in almost because they’ll still turn out in their numbers.
Burnley have struggled somewhat in recent weeks, registering just one win in their last seven outings, and Grant is keen to arrest that slide.
He added: “I think we need to be doing more across the board, not just away from home.
“The gaffer said earlier it comes down to the belief we have within the squad and the belief we have in each other because we're certainly good enough.
“We’ve shown we can match the strongest sides and some of the strongest sides in the division have struggled here.
“We need to continue to make it hard for people.”
Charlie Austin will miss out with a glut problem while Ben Mee, although nearing a return from his knee injury, will not be risked.
Dyche added of the full-back: “He’s going well, not close enough to be considered this week but his rehab’s going well.”