Ben Mee relishing the prospect of locking horns with fit-again Harry Kane

Burnley defender Ben Mee will relish the challenge of taking on Harry Kane again if the Tottenham striker is fit to return to action at Turf Moor on Saturday.

Kane has been sidelined for seven weeks by an ankle injury but is back in training and could be in the squad for the lunchtime encounter.

The England captain has failed to score in four of his last five games against Burnley but the one exception was on his most recent visit to Turf Moor last season when he netted a superb hat-trick.

Mee has been preparing for a possible meeting with Kane by trying to stop in-form duo Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood, who have netted six goals between them in the last three games, in training.

He said: “They’re tough boys to play against. What you see is what you get, especially with the physicality. Harry’s obviously a similar build and he’s got the quality as well so he’s obviously a big player for them.

“Of course you’ve got to relish playing against the big players, that’s why we play football definitely, to challenge yourself.”

Burnley boss Sean Dyche doubts whether Spurs will risk Kane, saying: “They have got some important games coming up. I am not saying ours isn’t important because of course it is, but they might view that differently.”

The Clarets have turned things around after a difficult first half of the season, with Mee pinpointing Boxing Day’s 5-1 home defeat by Everton as the crunch moment.

They have not lost in the Premier League since, an unbeaten run of seven games, and go into the weekend sitting three points above the relegation zone.

Mee said: “It’s been a good few weeks for us. But we’ve got a lot of work to do, it’s still quite tight and teams are winning games now at the bottom.

“The defeat against Everton put things into perspective, getting battered like that was a bit of a realisation of the situation we were in.

“The only people who can get you out of it are the team around you and we’ve done well to react from it.”

A key factor in Burnley’s improved form has been the return to the side of goalkeeper Tom Heaton, who has conceded six goals in seven games compared to 16 in the previous seven with Joe Hart between the sticks.

Mee said: “I’ve seen over the years, he’s been fantastic, made some unbelievable saves. I think he’s come in with a real point to prove.”

Saturday, meanwhile, will see former Burnley full-back Kieran Trippier return to Turf Moor for the first time since his World Cup heroics for England.

In an interview with the Burnley Express, Trippier praised Dyche’s influence in curbing his drinking habits and revealed he would love to play for the Clarets boss again in the future.

Dyche has quipped many times that he never has favourites among his players apart from Trippier, and he said: “I just love the kid, his character, his manner, his inner drive and determination.

“I don’t keep in touch with many players because of the nature of the business but I do with Kieran, because he is just one of the best packages I have come across as a footballer.

“We try and give players ownership and the ownership he had was, ‘this is what is right and appropriate, it is up to you whether you want to take it on.’ And he did. He took it on and he continues to take it on further, which is the best thing about it all.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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