SEAN Dyche believes new signing Dane Richards could prove to be a ‘real weapon’ for Burnley in the second half of the season.

The Jamaican international made his Clarets debut as a substitute in Saturday’s FA Cup defeat at Barnsley.

Dyche admits Richards still needs time to adapt to English football, with the winger only recently arriving at Turf Moor after agreeing a pre-contract with Burnley.

The 29-year-old was signed before Eddie Howe’s departure to Bournemouth but Dyche has already seen enough to be optimistic that he will make an impact at the club.

“He’s shown directness and that can be a real weapon in football,” said the Clarets boss after watching Richards make his debut at Oakwell.

“He’s almost in the bedding-in period, getting used to the change in culture, used to the team-mates and used to the play.

“We felt Saturday’s game needed that burst of energy down the right-hand side to stretch the pitch.

“We wanted to try to get him an introduction. We got that and he looked effervescent when he came on and stretched the pitch for us, and got a little chance and affected things.

“It’s early days yet but we’ll see how it goes.”

Richards will play for the Burnley development squad in a friendly with Everton this afternoon. Marvin Bartley, Junior Stanislas and Joseph Mills are also in the starting XI, along with teenage defender Tom Anderson following his return from a loan spell at Barrow.

Charlie Austin, Martin Paterson and Chris McCann all missed the Barnsley game because of injury but Dyche is hopeful that the trio could be in contention for Saturday’s Championship fixture at home to Crystal Palace.

He will, however, take a cautious approach with Austin after the striker lasted only eight minutes on his previous run-out against Leicester on December 29.

Michael Duff is expected to be fit after going off with cramp at Oakwell, although Ben Mee is a little further away from a return from a knee injury.

Asked about McCann and Paterson, Dyche said: “Hopefully they’re not serious.

“We had to make a judgement call on them at the weekend. Dean Marney made it but those two didn’t quite.

“They’re on the pathway and hopefully will be ready soon.

“Ben Mee is having a good finish to his rehab – I’m not sure when he’ll be back but he’s getting closer.

“Charlie’s going well also. The decision to play him cost us the other week and we don’t want to go down that road again.

“The medical team and the players decided this (the Barnsley game) was just too quick.

“But we’re really positive about them being available for selection next week.”