SEAN Dyche has not ruled out the possibility of goalkeeper and club captain Tom Heaton leaving in the January transfer window.

Aston Villa have emerged as favourites for the England international's signature, and could even land him permanently.

Since suffering a dislocated shoulder in September 2017, Heaton has made just three appearances, having been kept out of the side last season by Nick Pope and Joe Hart this term.

The 32-year-old, who has also interested Leeds United, has expressed his desire to play regular first team football.

But while he remains at Turf Moor, Dyche said he continues to push Hart for his place.

Asked about the chances of Heaton leaving, Burnley boss Dyche said: "There’s a possible chance. Tom’s absolutely in the open with my views as I am with his.

"A fantastic pro, international goalkeeper, real competitive edge to what's going on at the moment.

"Joe’s done well on the whole. We have conceded a lot of goals but that's not just down to a keeper by the way.

"Tom’s right in the thick of it and pushing constantly because of the top class pro that he is."

But Dyche said there had not been any firm enquiries for Heaton at this stage.

"Nothing that means anything," he said. "Lots of tittle tattle that you tend to get as a manager but nothing that means anything."