What a summer this is turning out to be? As the sun continues to beat down with an intensity and a duration not experienced since the bygone days of distant childhood memory, Burnley must now prepare for the season ahead.
We have just experienced a World Cup of thrilling games, stirring goals, upsets and controversies. This fantastic tournament has just concluded in Russia, a competition underpinned by a spirited and uplifting run to the semi-finals by Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
Now, as though that weren’t enough, Burnley fans are now preparing to embark on their unexpected Europa League odyssey.
It is an odyssey tinged with irony, as Clarets’ supporters visualised trips to far off exotic locations. UEFA however, had other ideas and so it is that Burnley’s first participation in a European competition for half a century extends to no further than Aberdeen.
The Clarets have managed to find an opposition whose stadium can be reached by road and without the requirement to produce a passport. So typical of Burnley!
Nevertheless, Aberdeen it is, and Burnley must prepare themselves to meet this awkward challenge if trips to more illustrious locations are to be contemplated.
Europa League commitments, along with the participation of Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Nick Pope in the World Cup, have combined to make this an unusually hectic close season for Sean Dyche and his staff.
Pope has only just returned from Russia, and is probably in need of a short rest, which suggests that Tom Heaton will keep goal for Burnley at Pittodrie in the first leg of the Europa League encounter.
The Heaton/Pope selection conundrum remains in Dyche’s enigma in-tray awaiting further resolution.
It would be implausible and frankly unfair to keep them both at the club and as Pope represents the future, logic suggests that it should be Heaton who moves on before the transfer window closes.
It is distressing for a Burnley fan to even harbour that thought, let alone commit it to print, but there is simply no room for sentiment in the modern game.
Tom Heaton has his career to think of, and Burnley are in a position to ask a sizable fee for a goalkeeper they picked up for free and turned into an England international.
As usual, Burnley are keeping coy about their summer transfer dealings. But with the club competing on an extra front, the need for new arrivals becomes more and more pressing.
Odd snippets of rumours crop up; bids for Jay Rodriguez and Craig Dawson from West Brom being the warmest, but no sign yet of these, or any other acquisitions, being paraded before the media wearing this season’s shirt.
Although this may be a source of irritation for Burnley supporters, it must be acknowledged that this is how Burnley operate under Sean Dyche.
The Clarets prefer to conduct their business in the transfer market, quietly, discreetly and without fanfares. They usually get it right, so there is no real cause for alarm at this stage.
So, with the Aberdeen tie looming large and the new Premier League season lurking just around the corner, there is scant opportunity for Burnley’s players, management and staff to sit back and enjoy the long hot summer.
EUFA's cruel and punishing timetable insists it’s time to get down to business.