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Burnley boss Dyche insists there have been no enquiries for Hart or Tarkowski

Keeper Joe Hart was linked with a loan move to Preston.
By Phil Medlicott, | 13d

Burnley boss Sean Dyche says the club have not received enquiries about Joe Hart or James Tarkowski.

It was reported this week that Preston had asked the Clarets if Hart – recently dropped from the starting line-up – or fellow goalkeepers Tom Heaton or Nick Pope were available on loan for the rest of the season, and been told the answer was no.

The Lilywhites subsequently signed Connor Ripley from Middlesbrough.

Defender Tarkowski, meanwhile, has been linked with Liverpool.

Dyche said on Thursday when asked about Hart: "We haven't had any enquires, for anyone by the way – because there are other strange stories knocking around, bizarre ones."

He added, with regard to Liverpool's reported interest in Tarkowski: "I'm not suggesting it's rubbish. I'm suggesting it's a new one on me."

Having played in Burnley's first 19 Premier League games this season, summer signing Hart was demoted to the bench following the 5-1 Boxing Day defeat against Everton.

Heaton has featured in the two league matches since – both of which Burnley won – and last weekend's 1-0 FA Cup victory over Barnsley saw last term's first-choice stopper Nick Pope back in the side for the first time since dislocating his shoulder in July, with Hart again a substitute.

Dyche, whose men host Fulham on Saturday, said: "He (Hart) had done very well overall.

"The only thing I hadn't changed was the keeper. Sometimes I have to get to a point where you go 'I have to change something', and that was the last piece I hadn't changed in the jigsaw.

"It is a risk and reward scenario when you change the keeper. Tom's done well. It doesn't make Joe not a top keeper, because he is a top keeper and a top pro as well.

"He accepted it, moves forward. He's an absolutely top-class professional. After the games Tom has played, he's been the first to congratulate Tom.

"That's the challenge of being a keeper. It's very tough.

"We think we have three very, very good keepers and two support that group as well. I'm happy to have them all. When the decision comes, then it will be a big decision. But that's the way it goes."

Dyche said of Pope: "He did a very good job but still needs a few more games to really be on top of himself I think.

"It's a planned return. Popey is kind of midway through his own sort of mini pre-season, on the games programme that is. He's been training with us for a while now, probably four weeks out on the grass.

"He's played one under-23s game, got the first game under his belt in the cup, and still needs more match time, because that is what you would have pre-season when you have been out for so long.

"Extenuating circumstances aside, when you might have to do things... We're not in that position at the moment, so therefore he'll be given the time to be as right as you can possibly be."

While Heaton looks set to return to the team on Saturday, Dyche has said there is "a strong chance" at least one of Phil Bardsley and Matt Lowton, both of whom have been nursing knocks, will be ready to come back in.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson (thigh) is a doubt, and Aaron Lennon (knee) and Robbie Brady (suspension) remain unavailable.



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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool23193154134160
2Manchester CityMan City23182362174556
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs23170648232551
4Chelsea23145440192147
5Arsenal23135548321644
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd23135546331344
7Watford239683232033
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves239592731-432
9Leicester CityLeicester2394102929031
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2394103034-431
11Everton238693433130
12Bournemouth2393113342-930
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2375112532-726
14Crystal Palace2364132332-922
15Southampton2357112540-1522
16Burnley2364132343-2022
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2356121931-1221
18Cardiff CityCardiff2354141944-2519
19Fulham2335152151-3014
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2325161340-2711
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