Burnley assistant Ian Woan hopes FA Cup can kickstart Premier League resurgence

The Clarets take on second-tier side Huddersfield in the third round of the competition on Saturday.
Burnley assistant boss Ian Woan (pictured) is overseeing things in Sean Dyche’s absence after the manager tested positive for coronavirus (Nick Potts/PA).

Burnley assistant boss Ian Woan (pictured) is overseeing things in Sean Dyche’s absence after the manager tested positive for coronavirus (Nick Potts/PA).

By Phil Medlicott, PA

Burnley assistant boss Ian Woan has no doubt this weekend’s FA Cup third-round tie against Huddersfield can provide a useful boost for the struggling Clarets.

Burnley are 18th in the Premier League table with only one win, secured against Brentford in October.

The 3-1 loss at Leeds on Sunday was a third defeat in four matches for the Turf Moor outfit, who are two points adrift of safety with a game in hand over 17th-placed Watford.

Woan – overseeing things in the absence of Sean Dyche after the manager tested positive for coronavirus earlier this week – told a press conference: “We’ll be planning like it’s a Premier League game.

“It is important. You’ve got to go and win matches, it breeds confidence. It’s an old adage, but we want to be winning games and we want to get some confidence through the squad.

“We’re not shying away from the fact that we’re a little bit short on that at the moment. So any sort of positive…

“You’re watching the lads in training, the way they are behaving and training is top-drawer. But winning a game of football – there’s no negative to that. We’ll be doing everything we can on Saturday, whatever we can to win.

“You look at the players and they are in a good place, it’s just – win an ugly one. Just get that next win over the line, and then that just breeds confidence and hopefully sets us off on a little run.”

Defender Nathan Collins said: “We need to get that winning mentality back into us. Let’s hope it starts on Saturday.

“Personally I think it’s really close, it’s just that bit of luck or that one goal maybe, just something to turn everything. But I think when it does click, everything can change, and we’re hopeful of that. We know we need to keep going.”

As well as being without Dyche, Burnley have various player availability issues as they prepare for Saturday’s contest. With a number missing due to Covid-19 and injury, and Maxwel Cornet at the Africa Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast, Woan held a 16-man training session on Thursday.

They take on a Huddersfield side who lie sixth in the Championship and are on a six-match unbeaten run.

Woan said of Carlos Corberan’s team: “They’re going well, a confident side, they have a nice, fluid style, good on the counter-attack.

“We’ve seen them three or four times – they look like a good outfit and a young, energetic coach who gets them right up for it. We’re going to have to be at our very best.”

Woan was an FA Cup runner-up as a player with Nottingham Forest in 1991, and he said: “Great memories, but we got beat (by Tottenham), so it’s always tarnished a little bit! But the experience of the FA Cup final is something you can take away with you forever. It was incredible.

“The FA Cup always holds a really good place in my heart and is a competition I always want to do well in.

“I think it’s just part of the fabric of English football. It pains me to see people kind of dismissing it as not really that important. It’s the way I’ve been brought up, and I know Sean’s the same. I think it’s an important part of us growing up, it always was, and we’ve got to hold on to that.”

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