BURNLEY have signed Chris Baird on a short-term deal to the end of the season, after being dealt a double injury blow with Kieran Trippier set to join striker Danny Ings for a spell on the sidelines.
The right back was initially thought to be ‘touch and go’ for tomorrow’s game at Charlton, but further investigations have shown the hamstring injury he picked up against Leeds will take longer to heal.
The minor muscle tear is expected to require two weeks’ recovery, making Trippier doubtful for the visit of leaders Leicester next weekend. Ings is in a similar position, although the specialists the 21-year-old saw this week are encouraged by the healing process and are expecting a straightforward recovery, although manager Sean Dyche has been reluctant to put a time frame on it.
Former Fulham defender Baird is now set to go straight into the side at The Valley tomorrow in Trippier’s absence.
Although the 32-year-old free agent has been without a club since January he has been training with Reading, who he signed for in September.
“I’d have no qualms about throwing him in,” said Dyche of Baird.
“He’s a very experienced player and that can be very useful in any given occasion. We’ve checked him out and if he’s feeling fit and well and he's right then we’d use him accordingly.
“He’s obviously very experienced and can cover three or four slots, and in a small squad like ours players like him are ones we’d be thinking about.
“He’s played at right back, with a young Sean Dyche, when he was coming through at Watford.
“He can play midfield and centre half, and he’s played a lot of games at the top level of course.”
Northern Ireland international Baird said he would be ready to answer Dyche’s call if it came.
“I’ve been doing a lot of training at Reading to keep myself fit,” he said. “I’m fully aware of the situation at the right back area, it’s up to the manager if he wants me to play but if he does I’m ready.
“I don’t mind where I play as long as I’m getting some games. I think that’s the most important thing,” said Baird.
“The manager really wanted me here and I wanted to come to try and help the team finish the season as strong as possible.”
With three games in a week, Dyche said he would continue to look to the loan market for attacking reinforcements before Thursday’s deadline.
“We’ve never not been looking at loan options it’s just the reality of aligning the right person at the right time on the right wages, and the player’s club wanting to come and the player wanting to come,” he said.
“It’s been fair to say that one of the hardhships of loans is that people usually look to play, and in our case the team’s looked so strong and been going very well that players might look at it and think ‘I’d kind of fancy a loan but am I really going to play when the team keep winning’.
“Some of it’s down to the player and his thoughts on possibly coming in as well and his thoughts on what we’re trying to achieve as a group.”
He added: “We know the realities of a small squad, we know there’s a time when you have to be flexible in your thinking with the players you’ve got and we also know there’s a time when there’s a rub of the green that goes the wrong way, an injury or suspension.
“We’ve tried to plan accordingly for that and they’re are challenges that face us again.”