Burnley manager Sean Dyche has admitted it will be all but impossible to keep his three goalkeepers happy at the club and at least one is likely to leave next summer.
Dyche has three keepers with England ambitions competing for the gloves at Turf Moor, with Tom Heaton having displaced Joe Hart in the league side and Nick Pope likely to make his second FA Cup appearance of the season at Manchester City on Saturday.
All three have been capped by England, with the 26-year-old Pope part of the World Cup squad last summer, and none will be content with a back-up role.
“No, I can’t see that position,” Dyche said when asked about keeping his keepers happy. “Not happy.
“They can get on with it. That’s a professional happiness. But happy is a completely different thing.
“With players, the first port of call is to get the shirt and play. The second one is to be involved and then there’s being out of the squad, and I don’t think any pro wants that last one…
“There will definitely be one of them over time not so happy. That’s the way it goes and, come the summer, there will probably be a period where that works itself out.”
Heaton, 32, has been Dyche’s first choice in the league since a 2-0 win over West Ham just before the turn of the year, his first appearance in 15 months after a dislocated shoulder.
During Heaton’s time on the sidelines, Pope stepped in and did well enough to earn a ticket to Russia with England, but he was injured in Europa League action at the start of the year, prompting Dyche to sign Hart from Manchester City on a two-year deal.
Hart played in Burnley’s first 19 Premier League games, but Burnley’s recent upturn in form has coincided with Heaton’s return to the side, leaving the 31-year-old ex-City man on the bench.
Asked what Hart needed to do to get his place back, Dyche said: “Keep working, that’s all you can do as a player. Keep showing every day what you are capable of.
“I’ve looked for the right forms of development and it comes in many ways, whether it’s Michael Duff playing in the Premier League at 37 or Dwight McNeil (who has just signed a new deal at the age of 19), they all develop in different ways.
“It’s all about having that keen edge, keep searching for that next level in your performance and I know Joe has got that feeling about his game.”
Dyche is expected to give the nod to Pope on Saturday as one of the number of changes to his side for the FA Cup, but he insisted he means no disrespect to a competition in which he reached the semi-finals with third tier Chesterfield as a player in 1997.
It is, he said, simply a matter of finances.
“Our goal has been and continues to be the Premier League because of what it brings, the strength it brings to the club financially, the kudos, the brand, everything,” Dyche said.
““The players also want to challenge themselves at the top level and the Premier League is arguably the top level. That’s why it’s the number one goal.
“And there are lots of clubs out there like us who are of a similar mind to us.
“It’s nothing to do with any downgrade or misrepresenting the trophy, it’s just the facts.
“I will try and remain clear in my thoughts, but there is no lack of respect. I’ve had fantastic times in the FA Cup as a player, but even in those days, teams weren’t getting £100million to be in the Premier League.
“Take the emotion out of it for me because you have to take the business viewpoint. I just see it as a fact.”