Burnley midfielder Danny Drinkwater is in contention to start for the Clarets with boss Sean Dyche still undecided about the player's immediate future.

The midfielder has not featured in the Premier League since arriving from Chelsea on transfer deadline day.

His loan deal expires on January 6 and his only appearance for the Clarets came in the Carabao Cup defeat to Sunderland in August.

Since then the 29-year-old has been sidelined with an ankle injury picked up in an altercation in Manchester after Burnley's defeat to Liverpool.

But he has now fully recovered from the problem and looks set to return to the squad, if not the starting XI.

"I think he's getting to as a close as you can get," said Dyche on a potential first team return for the midfielder.

"We all know there's nothing like the real thing.

"You get players to a level, they get themselves to a level of course by taking on the work.

"His training levels have improved and I think he's feeling better."

Drinkwater's Burnley future remains uncertain with the Clarets under no obligation to extend his stay at Turf Moor.

But Dyche wants to see the midfielder in action before making a decision on the former Leicester City man's future.

Asked whether he could play his way into an extended Clarets contract, Dyche added: "We haven't really seen him.

"Of course we know what he does in training, we've seen that, but it's the game, everyone gets judged on the games.

Danny Drinkwater

"It's too early to worry about that, we want to see him fit first, get on the pitch at some point and then take it from there. I've spoken about the bigger picture to him because he's desperate to play. Working hard, trying to get back fit.

"An incident that can happen and then you've got to recover from that.

"But it's the bigger picture. We're not going to push someone who's not quite there, we're not going to force anything upon them, I wouldn't with anyone here, whether they're on loan or one of my players who’s under contract here.

"I think it's a case of appropriate timing, when he's ready, and of course displacing someone else, because we like the midfield players we've got here.

"He knows it's a challenge, he knew it when he came here."