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Sean Dyche hails Clarets competition

Burnley boss Sean Dyche says competition for places in his starting XI is fierce and praised fringe men Ashley Westwood and Kevin Long.

Long, Westwood, Phil Bardsley and Charlie Taylor have all had chances in recent weeks due to injuries.

Dyche felt Westwood impressed in the FA Cup defeat to Manchester City and indicated the 27-year-old midfielder is giving him a selection headache ahead of Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace.

"He [Westwood] has a fantastic mentality, he's a top-class professional which is why we signed him," Dyche told the Lancashire Telegraph.

"He's been unfortunate because the form of [Steven] Defour and [Jack] Cork has been very good, [Jeff] Hendrick working in front of them.

"So I think Westy is a little bit unfortunate, not because of his own performances or professionalism, but because they've played really well.

"He gave a good account again."

Dyche also praised Long and Ashley Barnes for their performances against City and suggested the duo are pushing for more action in the Premier League.

He added: "Barnesy was terrific, came off the left as he has before for us and at Brighton.

"Kevin Long will get a lot from that, the quick, clever play, the movement around you, things a centre-half who's not young in years, but is young in his real development at this level, they're things you learn from, and there's still more to come from these players."

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