Rouwen will shine for Clarets – Gray

Rouwen Hennings hurdles Bruno Saltor of Brighton on Sunday
Rouwen Hennings hurdles Bruno Saltor of Brighton on Sunday
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Championship top scorer Andre Gray believes strike partner Rouwen Hennings will start to show his full potential once the German catches a break.

While Burnley’s £6m record signing notched his 11th goal of the campaign, the former Karlsruhe forward culminated his 10th appearance for the club without a goal.

The 28-year-old, who made only his third start in the 1-1 draw against Brighton and Hove Albion at Turf Moor, was denied his breakthrough by a superb reaction save from Seagulls stopper Adam Stockdale after Hennings stole a yard from Gordon Greer to meet George Boyd’s centre in the 20th minute.

“You can see his quality but sometimes, with the way we play, it’s difficult for both of us. I’m sure if he plays more we’ll get a partnership going like I do with Longy and Vokesy,” said Gray. “He’s technically one of the best in the squad and we see that quality day in, day out.

“As soon as he gets time out on the pitch he’ll shine a bit more. At the same time I think he’s still adapting to English football. I think with every game he plays he’s just going to get better. It’s always the way with strikers - once they get that one goal they’ll go on a run. The keeper’s made a great save and unfortunately for Rouwen he couldn’t get that goal.”

Meanwhile, Gray is relishing his leading role in the division this term. The one-time Brentford frontman is enjoying the attention he’s receiving from the opposition and the consequent challenge of adapting his game to overcome that.

After being embroiled in one of his fiercest physical battles to date against Brighton pairing Gordon Greer and Lewis Dunk, he said: “You’ve got to adapt and it’s not always going to be pretty where you’re getting in behind all the time. I might have to be scoring from crosses or penalties and tap ins. It’s not always going to be from a through ball and a one v one so I’m adapting.

“Brighton had two physical centre-halves but I like the battle. They’re going to win some and I’m going to win some, that’s just how it is. Unfortunately I didn’t get the better of them to score again. It’s just one of those things. I always enjoy the challenge. Obviously you’ve got to test yourself against the best and they are two of them.”

Gray added: “Brighton are up there for a reason. They’re organised, solid, they’re hard to break down and they keep the ball well so there’s no doubt that they’ll be up there this season. I’m sure we’ll be up there with them too. There’s a long way to go, we’re not even halfway through the season yet, so we just need to stay in the mix.”