Burnley brushed aside a late challenge from MK Dons to progress to the fourth round in what increasingly looks like Owen Coyle’s last game in charge of the Lancashire outfit.

Goals from Graham Alexander and Steven Fletcher put Burnley 2-0 up but a late consolation from Dean Morgan sparked hopes of a fightback among the home fans.

Coyle skipped the customary post-match press conference, fuelling the rumours he is set to walk out on the club to take up the manager’s post at Bolton Wanderers.

In the first half Burnley sporadically showed the attacking fluency that has been typical of Coyle’s stay. They moved the ball freely and swiftly out of reach of the home defenders throughout the opening 45 minutes, although it took a tactical switch from the Scottish boss to find the opening goal.

Chris Eagles swapped wings and found plenty of room to play a pass down the channel that Fletcher chased , although Dean Lewington had the chance to clear. The defender thought he could see the ball safely out of play but Fletcher picked his pocket and danced into the area before going down in a heap under an untidy challenge to win a penalty.

Alexander stepped up to drill the penalty in off the post to put the Clarets ahead and they quickly doubled the lead. Eagles was again at the heart of it, finding too much room in the midfield before slipping the ball through to Fletcher who sidestepped the defender before slotting in his ninth goal of the season.

Burnley could have led by more early in the second half. Wade Elliott should have done better than hitting the bar from eight yards when the ball fell kindly to him in the area and Fletcher hit the outside of the post with a glancing header moments later.

But then the visitors ran out of steam and in truth MK Dons were unlucky not to get something from the cup tie, despite manager Paul Ince’s reluctance to change his system.

When they did go more direct it paid off with Burnley struggling to deal with the long throw-ins. And it was a throw-in that the hosts got their goal from. Burnley only half cleared and when the cross came back in Morgan was in acres of space to finish emphatically past Burnley goalkeeper Brian Jensen.

But for Burnley a place in the next round and a likely trip to Anfield will be no consolation for losing their manager.

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