Burnley manager Sean Dyche insists he has no lack of respect for the FA Cup even as he plans to make a number of changes to his side for Saturday’s trip to Manchester City.
Dyche will use the match to give a number of players game time, with Nick Pope, Stephen Ward and Steven Defour likely to be involved, while Burnley’s focus is still firmly on the battle to stay in the Premier League.
Dyche, who made it to the semi-finals of the Cup in Chesterfield’s unlikely run in 1997, said he still has a strong affinity to the competition but the realities of the modern game means it has to come second with Burnley three points off the drop zone.
“There’s massive respect because of my own history with it, but there’s a reality to the challenge and sometimes people forget that,” he said.
“The challenge for us is the Premier League, it’s number one and the first thing on the mind because it brings so much to the club on a consistent basis. The FA Cup brings windows of it unless you win it – then it’s there forever.
“It’s a big task for us this weekend but there’s no lack of respect. We will make changes, definitely, because we’ve got a big week next week with three in a week and we’re still searching for people to get fit and some people need to play games.
“It’s not a lack of respect, it’s just the facts of modern football.”
When it comes to Dyche’s team selections, most eyes have been on the goalkeeping position in recent weeks, with Tom Heaton having displaced Joe Hart in the league side while Pope got the nod in the FA Cup third round win over Barnsley.
Pope is expected to start again on Saturday, denying Hart a City reunion, and Dyche knows he cannot keep all three happy.
“That’s life as a goalkeeper,” he said. “They know the demands. They’re well aware enough to know each other’s style, standards, capabilities. They know they’re all decent and they all know I can only pick one.
“They all want the number one shirt and it will be an ongoing challenge. There’s no doubt every manager wants the best squad they can have and there will be these tough decisions to make.”
City remain active in all four competitions, having completed a 10-0 rout of League One Burton in the Carabao Cup with a 1-0 second-leg win on Wednesday night.
Pep Guardiola fielded a much-changed side in that match and predicting what sort of team Burnley might face on Saturday is a near-impossible task for Dyche.
“He might well play some more youngsters, we’ll have to see, but it’s more about us,” he said. “We’ve refocused quite heavily on us. It’s not that we weren’t doing that but we’ve added extra weight to that.
“We know the power of Man City. We know they can change the whole team and still put a very competitive side out.”