CLARETS boss Eddie Howe has already drawn up his summer wish list – but his biggest hope is he can hold on to his young stars.
Howe has identified his transfer targets, but the likes of Jay Rodriguez and Kieran Trippier are drawing envious glances from Premier League clubs.
He would prefer to know the state of play before pre-season, having seen his plans reduced to tatters last year by the departure of Chris Eagles and Tyrone Mears two weeks from the start of the season, and Danny Fox after the opening game.
Howe accepts the speculation will start now the season is over: “It probably will.
“That is the nature of the game come the summer break and the transfer window re-opening.
“Our better players, who are at a very good age as well, and very attractive to other teams – it’s going to be a fight to keep hold of them. But hopefully we can in the majority of cases, and if we do lose anybody then hopefully we can bring in adequate replacements.
“But if anything is to happen – if we were to lose any players – we would want it to be done as quickly as possible so that it gives us the best chance to replace them.
“Whoever we lose, if we do lose anyone, it’s going to be very difficult to replace them because you’re losing top talents who have performed consistently in the Championship this year.
“To find like-for-like players for the money we have available is going to be very difficult. But that’s the challenge and something we’ll continue to do.”
Howe has identified a hit-list to work on bringing into the club, however, and he said: “We know who we want to bring in.
“I’ve said before it does depend on certain factors that we’re not in control of and neither are the board, so we’ll have to wait and see how things develop as time goes on.
“We’re not in a position at the moment to move on any of them. It will be a case at the moment of seeing how things unravel.”
It is a case of playing a waiting game in terms of interest in his players, and he added: “We’ve not had any enquiries to this day. Not that I’m aware of. I’m sure these things will move on quite quickly.” He also revealed recalled keeper Brian Jensen is still mulling over a new contract offer: “We’re expecting an answer soon hopefully.
“The Beast has got to weigh up all his options and choose what’s right for him. We certainly want him to stay. I think he showed again that he’s still a very good goalkeeper and we’d love to keep him with us.”
A new contract would take Jensen into a 10th season at the club and a possible testimonial: “That’s something that has been talked about. We’d love to offer him that.
“I think the supporters would love to see that because he is a real favourite of the crowd and I think he has deserved that for all he’s done.
“But without putting too much pressure on him, it’s his decision in terms of the contract offer.
“Hopefully we can reach an agreement.”
Meanwhile, Howe felt Burnley created enough chances to end the season with a win against Bristol City: “It’s another game we should have won but haven’t.
“We should have won it 1-0 really. After we’d scored, you thought we’d done enough.
“We had a spell in the game where we had possession and were passing the ball around at ease and you think ‘we’re going to see this game out comfortably’.
“But the nature of the division is if you make one mistake you get punished and that’s what happened for us.
“We did have enough chances but without working the goalkeeper enough. Some of our shooting was a little wayward, especially when they made the change. When David James came out of goal, you would have thought we would have put more crosses in the box and asked more questions.
“We scored a great goal, but the overall feeling does sum up our season really, good in spells but not consistent enough to win the game.”