BURNLEY boss Eddie Howe won’t be rushed in to throwing young prospect George Porter in to the strains of first team football.
The 20-year-old winger became Howe’s second signing of the summer after he agreed a three-year contract with the Clarets. Porter, a right-sided player, spent the last two seasons with Leyton Orient in League One, making 38 appearances last term, often as an impact player off the bench.
But while Howe is excited by the youngster’s potential, he isn’t prepared to throw him in at the deep end, insisting the new man will need time to develop and adapt to the Championship.
“It’s all about balance and you need a squad that has varying degrees of experience and different types of players,” said Howe. “George will definitely fit the development profile. He’s an exciting, young player and athletically he’s excellent.
“He’s very quick and has huge potential to become a very good player at this level. We’re going to have to develop him, do a lot of work with him on the training ground but we are prepared to do that.
“George is an exciting right winger who will give defence’s problems with his pace, he’s got an eye for goal and a good final ball but he is very much one for the future. I don’t want to put too much pressure on George at this stage of his career. He’s still got a lot to learn but we’re very excited by him.”
Howe stepped up his policy of cultivating the club’s youngsters by handing debuts to Cameron Howieson, Shay McCartan, Steven Hewitt, Wes Fletcher and Joe Jackson last season. And Porter may be bestowed the same opportunity after Football League chiefs agreed to revert back to seven substitutes in all competitions.
“We’ll see how he progresses throughout the season,” Howe said. “In the early stage of the season he’ll get to try and know the football club and how we work. It’ll be a big step up for him.
“But in time, as the season develops, maybe he will come off the bench and we can try and involve him at the right time in and around the first team. We’ll just have to assess his development. We do have high hopes for him and I’m sure that the supporters will be excited when they see him play.”
With the Clarets’ first pre-season friendly fast approaching against Accrington Stanley at the Crown Ground on Wednesday evening, Howe is keen to continue bolstering his squad, and have everything in place in time for the Capital One Cup clash against Port Vale on August 14th.
Strikers Sam Vokes and Chris Martin are names that keep getting linked with moves to Turf Moor, while Doncaster Rovers midfielder Brian Stock and Bournemouth’s Marc Pugh are other players that interest Howe. The Clarets boss wasn’t privy to leaking details of targets on his wish list, but he admits that he’ll sit patiently in hope of bringing in the right personnel after missing out on Leeds United’s Adam Clayton who opted to be reunited with Simon Grayson at Huddersfield.
“We shift to other targets now because there’s other areas of the squad that we want to improve,” declared Howe. “Hopefully we can do that in the coming weeks. We’re hoping to get the squad in place as quick as we can.
The transfer of Jason (Shackell) showed us that sometimes you have to wait and be patient. That’s what we’ll do and we’ll endeavour to get the players that fit our style and playing philosophy which is important to us. It’s got to work, it’s got to fit but we’ve got other targets in mind so we start again on another position.”
Howe added: “We’ve got our targets in mind, we know who we want, and now it’s a case of moving towards the next transfer and see where we go with it. It’s difficult when you’re competing with other clubs.
“When you’re looking at loan deals, for example, they can drag on for longer than you want them to. Hopefully we’ll get the right ones in and the squad will continue to take shape throughout pre-season. I’m sure there’ll be some late business as pre-season goes on.”