Burnley manager Sean Dyche is willing to make changes for the FA Cup fourth round trip to holders Arsenal so not to damage the club's promotion ambitions. The Clarets travel to The Emirates Stadium on Saturday (30 January) as major underdogs and conscious of not derailing their Championship campaign which sees them third, four points off an automatic promotion place.
Dyche made four changes for the previous round win against Middlesbrough and has hinted at a similar amount of alterations for the fourth round. New signing Paul Robinson, the former Tottenham Hotspur and England goalkeeper, is expected to be in contention after joining the club on a short-term deal. Midfielder Dean Marney is "touch and go" for the game and is not expected to be available against Arsenal due to a calf problem, while strikers Lukas Jutkiewicz and Ashley Barnes are long-term absentees with knee issues.
"We will look to pick a team wisely because it's quite obvious our biggest challenge is to be back in the Premier League," Dyche said, according to the official Burnley website. "Every game is a big game in the Championship and we have two big games next week and we have to be ready for them.
"I'm not suggesting, for one second, that the FA Cup is not big. It's massive and I have had my own experience of it in my lifetime as a player, let along as a manager. It still means a lot, but we have to look at the bigger picture and find that balance, as we did in the last round at Middlesbrough.
"There won't be wholesale changes, but we will look at the realities of the squad and the next fixtures and use it as wisely as we can to make sure we are fresh going into the next league game."
The Turf Moor club claimed one draw from four games against Arsenal during recent one-season spells in the Premier League, but they can take solace from a 2-0 victory over Arsene Wenger's side in the League Cup in 2008. Dyche is hopeful of again impressing against the Gunners and is hoping to pray on Burnley's billing as the underdogs.
"Teams in the Championship are viewed differently this season than two seasons ago, and certainly last year in the Premier League," he added. "We obviously are the underdogs and the weight of expectation with understandably be on Arsenal purely because of the grandeur of the club and the fact they are going well again.
"They have some very, very good players and a manager who said some very nice things about us to me last season, which I am thankful for. Not many will fancy us, but there are no guarantees and that is the marvel of the underdog spirit and the magic of the cup. We'll just look to perform, that's the main thing and then we'll take things from there."