Burnley manager Sean Dyche has confirmed that key midfielder Steven Defour is likely to miss the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery, while centre-back James Tarkowski is out of the clash with Manchester City this weekend after failing to overcome a groin problem.
It was initially thought (hoped) that Defour might be absent for around two months after needing to go under the knife to repair cartilage damage - he had been playing with what Dyche described as 'soreness' for several weeks.
Sean Dyche confirms that after knee surgery early next week, Steven Defour is now likely to be ruled out for the season. 🙁— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) February 2, 2018
Dyche later hinted it may be longer when speaking about the issue a few days later. Now, however, worst fears are confirmed as the Belgian star is unlikely to play again this season.
It comes as a huge blow as prior to the missing the draw with Newcastle in midweek, Defour had started all 24 of Burnley's Premier League games and was a key reason why the Clarets have been punching above their weight in the top half of the table.
Tarkowski was also missing for the Newcastle game and has been an equally important part of the team so far this season, striking up an excellent defensive partnership with Ben Mee.
Burnley's injury list is already had a number of crucial players on it. Tom Heaton has been out for some time, while Dean Marney, Robbie Brady and Jonathan Walters are all long-term absentees. Stephen Ward and Chris Wood could return later this month.
Former Everton winger Aaron Lennon was the only buy made during the January transfer window, while Georges-Kevin Nkoudou arrived on loan from Tottenham.