BURNLEY’S injury crisis is on the verge of easing, with captain and goalkeeper Tom Heaton playing his first game in over five months in a behind closed doors meeting with Blackpool, striker Chris Wood coming through 70 minutes and midfielder Dean Marney completing 90 minutes.

But midfielder Scott Arfield is touch-and-go for this weekend’s visit of Southampton with a calf problem sustained in training.

Burnley have been without up to nine players at the peak of their injury problems, with Stephen Ward, Robbie Brady, Steven Defour, Dean Marney, Chris Wood and Jon Walters all sidelined with knee injuries, Phil Bardsley has missed with a hamstring injury, James Tarkowski has been out with a groin injury while Heaton is on his way back from a dislocated shoulder.

Ward, Wood and Tarkowski are in contention to take on the Saints at Turf Moor on Saturday.

But manager Sean Dyche said Heaton would still need time before he is considered.

“Tom played his first game the other day so he’s not there yet. He’s certainly been training with us and he looks clear and feels fine. Steven Ward got 90 minutes in the other day, which means he’s even closer to full fitness, and certainly back in the thinking. Woody got 70 minutes in, so he’s back in the thinking. That was by design, by the way, we took him off at 70 minutes just to make sure he’s building his way back into true fitness.

“Dean Marney got 90 under his belt, so that’s good, the group is coming back together.

“There are still a couple who are obviously out slightly longer. Tarky is nearly there, he’s got a chance but we’ll be careful with that one because he’s worked hard to get back to where he’s got to. But he’s been training actively with the first team now.

“The only one who’s got a minor knock and will be touch and go is Scott Arfield. He’s got a tight calf after training so we’ll see how that is.”