CLARETS boss Eddie Howe’s summer rebuilding work is almost complete.
But he would like to bolster his midfield – with Doncaster Rovers’ Brian Stock, still on his wishlist.
Midfield is the remaining area of his squad he would still like to strengthen, as he looks to add to his signings so far – centre-back Jason Shackell, full-backs Luke O’Neill and Joseph Mills, winger George Porter and striker Sam Vokes, who signed a three-year deal on Tuesday after agreeing a £350,000 switch from Wolves.
Howe now has at least two players for every position, but wants further midfield reinforcements, with former Bournemouth man Stock still on the radar: “Midfield is the area we now look to improve.
“We don’t need drastic work, just tweaks, we have a good core, the other units are finished, it’s just a case of adding in midfield.”
And despite the pressing need to bring someone into the engine room, he is prepared to be patient. He said: “We’re flexible on that, it’s about the right player.”
Howe is set for a boost in the midfield area as Marvin Bartley – yet to play in pre-season with an ankle injury – awaits a scan today: “Marvin’s frustrated, he’s still got his big protective boot on.
“He has another scan today (Friday), so I think that comes off, and hopefully it’s healed up and we’re ready to push him on.
“He’s had a stress fracture which hadn’t entirely healed over the summer, so with the rest and the boot, hopefully that’s solved the problem.”
Martin Paterson sat out Tuesday’s 3-1 win at Bath City with a knee problem, while Kieran Trippier was on the receiving end of a late challenge – his last involvement at Twerton Park.
Howe said: “Tripps is okay, I don’t think it’s anything too serious thankfully, you don’t want to see any player go down, let alone someone of his calibre, so I was pleased to see him walking around after.
“Pato had a slight problem with his knee, nothing serious, he’s had a scan so hopefully he’l be back training shortly.”
Meanwhile, Howe was delighted to finally end a year-long pursuit of Vokes – and feels he has got a bargain: “I think every signing is a risk, but he’s good value in the marketplace.
“Trying to find targetmen is incredibly difficult, I don’t think there are many good ones around, and it’s even harder to find good young ones.
“I think Sam fits that mould, 6ft 3ins, good in the air, he’s still developing, and I think he will get better with age when he gets more experience and learns how to use his body better.
“I’m really pleased, he’s got a fantastic attitude and wants to learn.
“For the money we’ve paid, he’s an excellent signing.”
Vokes made his professional debut alongside Howe at Bournemouth, before joining Wolves, but has spent time on loan at six clubs, including Burnley last season, and Howe added: “Although he’s relatively young, he has a lot of experience behind him, albeit predominantly from the bench, but we want to develop him further and make him into the complete player if we can.
“But he has international experience, Premier League, Championship, League One, so he’s done the rounds for his age and we’re delighted.
“He’s a great lad, real team player and wants to get better.
“He’s been travelling and had many clubs, many experiences, managers and ways of playing, which will be good for us, and it only adds to the player he is.
“He needs to be settled and we’re delighted to welcome him, hopefully we can get the best out of him.”
After a whirlwind Tuesday that took in a drive to Bath and a medical, Howe introduced him with half an hour remaining, and he was delighted with his display: “I’m really pleased to sign him, and I was really pleased with him, he was thrust into action - he hasn’t had any game time although he’s trained with Wolves’ first team, so that was his first outing.
“You could see immediately what he brought to us, a couple of long balls went into him and he held it up for us and brought others into play.
“I think he’s going to be a good signing for us.
“It’s been on the backburner for while, something we were really keen to do, but it’s about timing and making sure we can do it, the other club wants to do it, and the player wants to come.
“Finally everything fell into place.
“The beauty of it is Sam knows us and the players as well. He fitted into the system really well and could have had a couple of goals.
“He’ll be really well received by the lads, who I think all enjoyed working with him previously.
“He’ll fit in right away and be a vital addition for us, because we need that physical presence.”