The FA Cup break likely came at the perfect time for Burnley, as the club aim to get back on the winning track when they face Southampton on Saturday at Turf Moor.
Sean Dyche's boys are winless in their last 11 matches (0-5-6) over all competitions, but remarkably still find themselves in good standing in seventh place in the Premier League table on 36 points. Aspirations of European qualification may be a bit too ambitious at this point in the season, but certainly a top-half conclusion is within reach.
However, the immediate task at hand is to stop the current rot.
Last time out, Burnley (9-9-9) struggled to keep pace with Swansea City from the outset and did little in the attacking third of the pitch in the 1-0 defeat on Feb. 10. They kept only 43 percent of the ball and managed just one shot on target.
While that's not a winning formula, there are some attacking reinforcements on the way.
Leading scorer Chris Wood has missed the club's last nine games with a knee injury picked up in a 3-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur on Dec. 23, but could be poised to return after playing 70 minutes in a training ground game this week. Left-back Stephen Ward could also be available for selection after going a full 90 in a closed-door game against Blackpool.
No. 1 goalkeeper Tom Heaton, meanwhile, remains out long-term. Nick Pope will continue in Heaton's stead.
"Wood got 70 minutes in so he's back in the thinking," confirmed Dyche. "Tom's not there yet to worry about that. Tom's main thing is to get fit. He knows that and I know that."
If Burnley are to collect three points, they'll likely need to score first. The Clarets have won three of their five Premier League matches against Southampton by a 1-0 scoreline.
Though the Saints (5-11-11) are 4-3-1 in seven games over all competitions, only one of those wins have come in the Premier League, where they are mired in a 1-5-8 stretch and sitting atop the relegation zone.
Mauricio Pellegrino's charges have scored one or fewer goals in 11 times in those 14 matches and fell 2-0 to Liverpool on Feb. 11. The Saints had more of the ball than Liverpool, but couldn't keep Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah from scoring.
Southampton, however, bounced back last weekend with a 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion in the fifth round of the FA Cup thanks to goals from Wesley Hoedt and Dusan Tadic.
"We feel happy for many reasons," Pellegrino said. "As a team, the spirit that we showed (against West Brom) was really good from the beginning until the end. West Brom were looking to play long, put us under pressure and make the match into a physical battle, but we competed very well especially at set-pieces, even scoring one ourselves."
Southampton also have not lost any of their last eight league matches in which they've started the day in the relegation zone (4-4-0).
Updated February 22, 2018