Sean Dyche says Jon Walters could be fit for playoffs

Burnley manager says that the striker is building strength in his knee and could be fit

Ireland’s Jonathan Walters could be fit for Ireland’s World Cup playoff in November, says Sean Dyche. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Ireland’s Jonathan Walters could be fit for Ireland’s World Cup playoff in November, says Sean Dyche. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Jonathan Walters’ hopes of taking part in the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup play-off are not dead and buried, according to his Burnley boss Sean Dyche.

Martin O’Neill’s side will battle for a place at next summer’s tournament in a two-legged shootout after beating Wales 1-0 in their final group game to take second place in Group D.

Walters was confined to a cheerleading role as he continues to battle a knee injury which was widely expected to leave him with no chance of featuring in the double-header, which will take place between November 9-14.

But the 34-year-old, whose brace in the second leg of a Euro 2016 play-off with Bosnia-Herzegovina sent the Irish to that tournament, may yet have a glimmer of hope.

Assessing the forward’s recovery Dyche said: “We are still not putting timescales on it. But it won’t be days, it will be weeks.

“We are hopeful it will settle down quickly. It already is.

“We were getting a specialist’s view of it, it needed a period to calm down. It’s a historical injury, a wear-and-tear injury and needed time to calm down.

“Once it has settled down, it’s getting strength through the knee and that’s where we are at.”

Dyche was more than happy to allow Walters to attend the recent Ireland camp in person, rather than insist he remained in-house during a crucial time for his international team-mates.

“There was nothing he could do away with Ireland which would comprise his rehab,” said the Clarets manager.

“I think the lines of communication between clubs and country are a lot more open (than they used to be). Jon has been important to the group there, a good professional.

“It was clear to everyone he wasn’t going to play and there was good information shared by both sides.”

Along with Walters, Burnley will be without Nahki Wells and Dean Marney for Saturday’s home game against West Ham.

Deadline-day signing Wells, who has yet to make his senior debut, and Marney, who suffered a cruciate ligament injury in January, will both step up their rehabilitation on Friday when Burnley Under-23s take on their Nottingham Forest counterparts.

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