NICK Pope or Tom Heaton? You'd expect, given the choice, it would be one of the toughest decisions.

But for manager Sean Dyche there is not one to be made yet. For he is keeping the power with the player.

Pope has had the number one spot since Heaton suffered a dislocated shoulder in September.

After a carefully crafted rehabilitation and games programme with the club's Under 23s, team captain Heaton is back to full fitness.

Although not named in the 18 at West Brom, he was with the matchday squad. He will be pushing for a return when the Clarets face Watford at Vicarage Road tomorrow.

The suggestion is, though, that after 29 Premier League appearances, 11 clean sheets and an England call-up Pope will keep his place. At least for now.

"It’s not his to lose," said Dyche. "It’s for him to keep playing well and enjoying what he’s doing.

"That’s the same for all the goalkeepers here. It’s up to them to demand from themselves and to get the chance to go and play, however that comes around. Because don’t forget it came around by injury for Popey, not by a lack of form, just by injury.

"It can come round in many different ways.

"It’s just the rule of being a goalkeeper that only one can play. So therefore you get on and play, and the manager decides one way or the other, or the results decide, or injuries, and all that stuff.

"All goalkeepers understand the way goalkeeping works. The one who’s got the shirt is usually, not always, the most powerful keeper - not by his performances, just by the fact that he’s got the shirt. So that’s just the rule of thumb, really. That’s just Goalkeeper’s Land. They all know it."

Burnley's goalkeeper ranks are as big as they've ever been, with Anders Lindegaard yesterday signing new terms, and Adam Legzdins on the books too.

There is quality and quantity for a position where only one can play.

But Dyche does not view it as a difficult balancing act.

"Tom knows the job as do Anders and Legz behind him," said the Burnley boss.

"They know the script. Goalkeepers know the realm they’re in from many years of doing it, whether you're first choice or second choice or you're fighting to get involved. That’s just the lay of the land with goalkeepers.

"I don't think there's anything other than the natural order of what's going on.

"Popey’s doing nice, playing well, having a good season. Tom’s been a fantastic servant over time. Anders and Legz are still looking to earn their spurs here really."

Asked if Pope was the number one right now, Dyche added: "No, it's just the fact is there are two very good goalkeepers - four in total - but two the obvious ones. Nick’s currently got the shirt then it's my decision to see how that continues for the rest of the season."