Burnley centre-back James Tarkowski is in contention to face Everton at Turf Moor on Saturday (3 March) after recovering from a groin problem, manager Sean Dyche has confirmed.

Tarkowski has not featured for the Clarets since the middle of January due to injury but managed to come through a behind-closed-doors match against Preston North End earlier this week unscathed.

The 25-year-old, whose performances during the first half of the campaign helped Burnley to seventh, a position they still occupy despite not having won for three months, will likely return against Everton and could be joined in the starting line-up by fellow injury victim Chris Wood, who was included in the squad that slumped to a late draw with lowly Southampton last weekend.

"Tarky is certainly back in contention," Dyche said in his press conference, relayed by Burnley Express. "He had no problems and felt fine on Tuesday. Tom [Heaton] needs game-time, but he performed well, and Woody got 90 minutes after 70 last week. We had to be careful last week with him, but he's had more training and game time, and is getting sharper.

Wood and Tarkowski may make their long-awaited returns against Everton, whose appalling away record was compounded further by a drab 1-0 loss to Watford last Saturday [24 February], but the visit of Sam Allardyce's side is likely to come to soon for goalkeeperTom Heaton.

The former Manchester United youth star has missed most of the current campaign after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in September, and Dyche has left it for him to decide when he is able to return to first-team contention.

Dyche, who stressed that "there was no bullet to dodge" when asked about speculation linking him with the managerial hotseat at Everton back in November, will hope to have Heaton at his disposal soon but will also have to make do without Scott Arfield and Jonathan Walters as the pair continue their recoveries from calf and knee injuries respectively.

"He knows himself when his eye is in, but he is training well and there are no big question marks," Dyche said. "It's for him to know when he feels really clear-minded and ready.

"Scotty won't be right for Saturday," he added. "Jon is doing well, steady away, but it will take time."

Tom Heaton
Heaton faces a fight to regain his place at Turf Moor Getty Images