SEAN Dyche admits it was a tough decision to allow Tom Heaton to join Aston Villa - but that head ultimately ruled heart.

The former Burnley favourite will come up against the Clarets for the first time since leaving when Dyche takes his side to Villa Park tomorrow.

Heaton moved to the newly-promoted side for a reported £8 million at the start of August as he entered the final year of his Turf Moor contract.

The move raised a few eyebrows with the 33-year-old ending last season as Burnley’s No.1.

His departure saw Bailey Peacock-Farrell drafted in from Leeds to bolster the goalkeeping ranks with Nick Pope playing every minute in the Premier League so far this campaign.

“I treat all these players like they’re my own family members, I try and be as good with my guidance as I would be with my own children,” Dyche said.

“I think it’s important, they become important to you over time, Tom is certainly one of those. I don’t do favourites, apart from Tripps (Kieran Trippier), everybody knows that!

“He was my first signing, an important signing, but he’s a top fella on and off the pitch, I like him as a person and professional.

“There will always be a business decision here though, every pound is a prisoner, that’s just the way it is.

“Behind that, we have got very good goalkeepers. I believe in Nick Pope, quite obviously, I believe in Joe Hart and young Bailey has joined the group and done very well so far.

“There is a method to the planning of it, but there often comes a time when a deal gets done here.

“With Tom, it worked on every level, and on the one that’s hard to find, an emotional level, because I can shake Tom by the hand, look him in the face, he’s happy, I’m happy, and there’s no thinking on who’s won, everyone has won.”

As for matters on the field, Dyche is confident there will be no distractions when his side are faced with the unusual sight of Heaton in the opposition goal despite the impact he had at the club both on and off the field.

“I’m pretty good as this sort of thing as regards emotionally, there’ll be no emotion during the game, but maximum respect for Tom on and off the pitch,” the Clarets boss said.

“He’s been a great servant but during the game it won’t cross my mind.

“We’ve played against players we’ve had here, it never really bothers me that sort of stuff, other than tactically.

“We’ve had Charlie Austin, Tripps, Shacks (Jason Shackell), Ingsy (Danny Ings), loads have moved on and we’ve played against them.

“So I’m full of respect, and I’m sure the group will be, but that respect goes out of the window during the game.”