SEAN Dyche is glad to have a week between fixtures for the first time since Christmas as he seeks to nurse his Burnley squad back to full health.

The physio's room has been busy at the Barnfield Training Centre recently with Dyche admitting his squad has been 'stretched' for the first time this season.

With the hectic festive fixture list now out of the way Burnley have had a week without a game since the FA Cup exit at Manchester City last weekend and Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace in the Premier League, giving Dyche some breathing room when it comes to preparing his team.

"It is for us at the moment," Dyche said when asked if it was a benefit to have a week to prepare.

"We had a run of injures going into Christmas and Tarky’s suspenion. He has come out the end of it. We have had one or two more which is not ideal.

"Now we have come out of that period at least it gives you clarity with your work. You get more days in between to work with the team.

"Mainly with us it is fitness, it’s getting people back on the pitch.

"Players can miss a number of games in that condensed period, but when it is Saturday to Saturday it’s fair to say they get a little bit more recovery. With being out the FA Cup there is an extra recovery weekend or two as well."

Central midfield isn't an area that has been hit by the recent spate of injuries, but Dyche admits Ashley Westwood is 'knocking on the door' after his starring role in the defeat at the Etihad.

"I thought he did very well. A number of them did," the Clarets chief said.

"Matt Lowton did well and I think Westy has been very professional. He's been outstanding.

"He’s stayed sharp, he’s training as if he is playing every day, as if he is in the first team at the moment. He’s not but he is knocking on the door.

"Performances like that only remind you what a good player it is. We're happy to have him here that’s for sure."

Attention turns back to the Premier League this weekend and a trip to a Palace side who are a different prospect to the one beaten at Turf Moor in September.

That defeat sealed Frank De Boer's defeat but they have been revitalised under Roy Hodgson.

"It hasn’t surprised me," Dyche said of the turnaround in form.

"The biggest surprise was their start to the season – everyone thought they would start stronger than they did.

"Roy knows his business and knows how he wants his teams to work.

"He has done it with loads of different teams and I doubt he has gone far from the work he does and why should he with success he’s had. I know people there, good people and they will instil that into the team."