Sean Dyche is planning for the future at Burnley – and a summer when the Turf Moor purse strings might be opened – despite continuous links with vacancies at Premier League rivals.
A week after being asked about the soon-to-be vacant position at Crystal Palace, Dyche faced questions on Friday afternoon a couple of hours after the surprise news that Nuno Espirito Santo will leave Wolves after Sunday’s match against Manchester United.
Dyche laughed off a question suggesting Burnley’s trip to Sheffield United on the last day of the season could prove to be his final game with the Clarets.
“Unless I’m told by the powers that be, I’m not planning on that at the moment,” he said.
“I’ve been asked that many times over my time here, probably since our first promotion I’ve been linked with other places and I’m still here.
“Equally I always say times change in football, it’s very rare you’re in a job for life apart from the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger. Life does change but I’m still here and let’s see where the future goes.
“I’ve had lots of highlights at Burnley and let’s hope there’s more to come.”
Chairman Alan Pace, whose ALK Capital group took over at Turf Moor midway through the season, has this week promised to back Dyche in the transfer window this summer, but Dyche said it would come down to finding the right players.
“I don’t know if it was music to my ears because it needs to come to fruition,” Dyche said.
“The chats I’ve had have been positive. It’s not a situation of ripping it up and starting again, but they’re talking in the right way in the sense of finding out how the finances work and how we can take it forwards.
“The club has been well run, we’ve got a healthy bank balance on the turnover and now it’s about how can we stretch it without breaking it.
“The truth is it’s about what players are available. It’s not just about an amount of money, you need the right players. We could have spent money in January but we didn’t feel the players were there that could have pushed us forwards.
“It’s not just about money, it’s about finding the right players.”
Dyche will also hope the changing situation behind the scenes will strengthen the club’s chances of keeping key players – not least James Tarkowski as the defender heads into the final 12 months of his contract.
“There’s no reason not to,” Dyche said when asked if he thought the 28-year-old would be at the club next season.
“He knows his situation and what we think of him as a player. He’s knows he’s an important player here.”
Burnley will finish their campaign at Bramall Lane, seeking a seventh away win that would match the club record in the Premier League.
“That’s a nice positive because everyone keeps talking about the home form,” said Dyche, whose side have not won at Turf Moor since the end of January.
“It’s been a very strong season away from home, but joking apart the home form has suffered, partly because of the lack of fans because the fans reward us with support through thick and thin.”
Burnley’s chances on Sunday could be boosted by the return of England goalkeeper Nick Pope, who has missed back-to-back home defeats to Leeds and Liverpool with a knee injury.
“The most positive news is on Popey, I think he’s got a chance,” Dyche said. “His body has settled down, the knee that’s been troubling him a bit, so we’ll see how he goes over the next couple of days.”