Burnley boss Sean Dyche has backed new boy Georges-Kevin Nkoudou to help resurrect his side’s Premier League fortunes as they prepare to head to Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Nkoudou joined the Clarets on loan from Tottenham for the rest of the season this week and is expected to go straight into the starting line-up as his new side look to secure their first win in six top-flight games.
Dyche believes Nkoudou is desperate to make an impression after having his opportunities restricted at Spurs, for whom he is yet to start a Premier League game since signing for a reported £11million from Marseille in 2016.
Dyche said: “He has come in bright and vibrant and he is keen to make a mark on this division. He hasn’t played a lot and he is a bit unknown but he has got a will and a demand to do well.
“He has waited a long time and he has had his moments at Tottenham but they have got a very deep squad and fine players so while he has tried to earn his chance there, it hasn’t come round.
“We’ve known of him for a little while and now he’s got his chance. But we make it clear to anyone who comes here, whether they are signings or loans, that they have got to earn the right to play.”
Dyche could be without midfielder Scott Arfield due to a slight hamstring strain as he takes his side back to Selhurst Park where they claimed their first and only away win in April last season.
This time Dyche finds the roles somewhat reversed with the Clarets having excelled on their travels this season while Eagles boss Roy Hodgson is gradually lifting his side out of danger after a dismal start to the campaign.
“It (Palace’s improvement) hasn’t surprised me,” added Dyche. “I think the biggest surprise was their start to the season because everybody thought they’d start stronger than they did.
“But Roy knows his business and how he wants his team to work, and I doubt he has gone very far away from the work he believes in.”
James Tarkowski is set to return to the starting line-up after missing last week’s FA Cup defeat at Manchester City and will again play in a protective cast after injuring his hand in the pre-Christmas draw at Brighton.
While the likes of his team-mate Arfield continue to mull over a new contract offer, Tarkowski ended growing speculation about his own future by signing a new four-year deal at Turf Moor last week.
Tarkowski said: “It was a no-brainer really – I’ve loved every minute since I joined the club and I’ve played most of the games this season, we’re moving forward so if the club wants me to stay I’m really happy.
“Every young boy dreams of playing for the biggest clubs in England and that’s no different for me but I’m really enjoying my time here and I don’t see that changing – I want to play football for a club that put their trust in me and pay them back a little bit.”