BURNLEY manager Sean Dyche says he does not feel compelled to make unforced changes to his team, insisting his players deserve the chance to respond to Saturday’s defeat at Nottingham Forest.
The Clarets will be without both defender Michael Duff and midfielder Chris McCann for the visit of Watford after the duo picked up their fifth bookings of the season.
Canadian David Edgar is likely to slot in alongside captain Jason Shackell in the back four, while there are a number of options for filling the midfield void. Marvin Bartley replaced Dean Marney when he served a one-match ban against Barnsley.
With striker Sam Vokes and winger Junior Stanislas making positive impacts from the bench in recent games, combining for goals against Ipswich and Blackburn Rovers, there have been calls for the duo to start.
But Dyche has indicated he will keep faith with the bulk of his starting XI rather than look to freshen things up against his old club this weekend.
“I think the players have earned the right to play. The performance levels have been good. The only blip was the Barnsley performance,” he said.
“Saturday wasn’t a terrible performance, it’s a poor decision (for the first goal) but you’ve got to respond to that, and then a sleepy second goal from our point of view.
“It’s not major disappointment but I always feel disappointed after a loss.
“We’re looking to respond and give a performance.”
And after seeing big decisions go against them in three of their last six games, leading them to concede against Ipswich and Forest, while they were made to play with 10 men against Charlton for 75 minutes following Kieran Trippier’s controversial dismissal, Dyche is also hoping to get more of the rub of the green.
“I don’t think we’ve got the points we’ve actually deserved. We’ve had three big referee’s decisions go against us – it’s not an excuse it’s just a fact, and that obviously makes your task tougher,” he said.
“But we’ve got to respond to that and I’m a great believer in earning your own luck and making your own luck.
“Our performance levels in general have been acceptable. We’re looking to deliver for longer periods of games, especially with our possession-based game and keeping the ball.
“A lot of it has revolved around ‘nearly and not quite’. We’re creating chances and haven’t given too much away, now it’s about being clinical in both boxes, making sure the detail’s in the defending box and making sure we’re clinical at the other end to score or kill games off, whichever it may be.
“But overall there are some really good signs, I’ve been really pleased and positive about what we’re trying to do.”
Meanwhile, Cameron Stewart is set to return to Hull City at the end of his loan spell in January.
The winger was signed on a four-month deal by Eddie Howe but has not featured for the first team since October 27 at Cardiff City, the last game of Terry Pashley’s caretaker reign.
He has only two starts since arriving at Turf Moor, the last of which was on September 19, and has only made the squad three times in the Dyche’s eight games in charge.
“Looking at the way things are, he’s probably going to come back to us in January and we’ll see where things go,” said Hull City boss Steve Bruce.
“It’s been disappointing for all parties. He went out to play games with Burnley and that’s just not happened for him.
“That’s been a big disappointment for him but the challenge has to be to get his head down, work hard, and turn his luck around. It’s a big time coming up for him.”