WEST BROM centre back Craig Dawson is on Eddie Howe’s radar as he looks to add steel to his Burnley side.
Dawson, back at The Hawthorns after spending the season on loan back at former club Rochdale, is expected to spend pre-season with the Baggies.
But he is likely to be allowed out on loan either at the end of the transfer window, or at the start of the emergency loan window, for the season, and I understand Clarets boss Howe is keen to make a move for the 21-year-old Norden lad.
Dawson is also thought to prefer a move to Turf Moor, if Roy Hodgson decides to further his experience in the Championship.
Hodgson has promised to give Dawson a chance to impress in the Albion first team next season, having been immediately loaned back to Dale after being signed by Roberto Di Matteo last summer after captaining Rochdale to promotion as the League 2 player of the year.
But Albion currently have five centre backs, regular Jonas Olsson, new signing Gareth McAuley, the rarely-used Ibanez Pablo, Gabriel Tamas and Dawson - with potentially one more to come in over the close season.
Hodgson said recently he wasn’t looking to loan out the player, but I believe it remains an option: “I’ve not seen much but the feedback has been very positive.
“I’m not looking to loan him out.
“He’s had his loan spell and now at the age of 21 he’s had two and half years of football.
“We bought him to be a player here, not so others could benefit.
“I’m looking forward to working with him but I don’t know much about him yet.
“The reports I’ve seen have been positive and everyone tells me has a good career ahead of him, so he needs to show me and the rest of the staff that those reports are correct.”
Dawson is also prepared to try and win a place in the Baggies side, but privately it is thought he feels Burnley would be an ideal destination if the decision is made to allow him out again on loan.
He said: “I’m going to go in there pre-season, work as hard as I can, push myself and hopefully get a place in the team.
“It’s everybody’s dream to try and get in a Premier League side, but there is a lot of hard work to do before that.”
This week’s developments with Keith Hill leaving Dale for Barnsley could put the Tykes in the race as well.
Dawson was with Manchester City as a youngster, but was playing for Radcliffe Borough when he started to attract interest, with the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Blackburn Rovers and Middlesbrough regularly checking on his progress.
In March 2009, he had the chance to join Rochdale, Bury, Crewe Alexandra, Port Vale and Northwich Victoria, and opted for his home town club
Dawson made his Rochdale debut in August two years ago, and went on to score a club record 11 goals for a defender as Dale were promoted, earning a place in the League 2 team of the year and the won League 2 player of the year accolade.
He interested Brian Laws last summer, while Middlesbrough had offers turned down before the Baggies swooped to sign him.