Burnley boss looks to bolster striking options

CROWDED OUT: Charlie Austin in the thick of the action against Plymouth on Tuesday
CROWDED OUT: Charlie Austin in the thick of the action against Plymouth on Tuesday
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CLARETS boss Eddie Howe is hopeful of adding an attacking option on loan before tonight’s 11 p.m. transfer deadline – and also confident of warding off interest in his own players.

Howe has been linked with moves for Bristol City striker Brett Pitman, Wigan Athletic’s young wideman Callum McManaman and Swansea City’s attacking midfielder Stephen Dobbie.

And ideally, he would like to land at least one new face before tomorrow’s home clash with Brighton and Hove Albion (kick-off 3 p.m.).

But he could also face a fight to hold on to a couple of his own key players, with speculation that Huddersfield could launch a bid to land Charlie Austin, after agreeing to sell Jordan Rhodes to Blackburn in a deal that could be worth up to £8m.

Howe insists any deals would be done on the club’s terms, however – to offers too good to refuse.

As regards incomings, Howe said: “We won’t be doing any permanent deals I wouldn’t imagine.

“Never say never in football, but I imagine we’re looking at a loan.

“But when you are looking at loan deals at this stage of the season, the window re-opens after a week anyway, so as much as we would like to get someone in for Brighton, we’ll just have to see who’s available, who we can get, and then make that decision.

“We’re looking at attacking options – whether that’s wide or as a centre-forward.

“We’re really light in that area – Danny Ings covered both positions so losing him was particularly hard when he’s so versatile – do we’re looking at someone in a similar mould who hopefully can play up front and wide.

“We do have a couple who we’d really like to bring in that are on our list, but we just need to make sure we can do it with the clubs and all the things that go with it. If we don’t quite do it for Brighton, hopefully we’ll be looking for when the window re-opens.”

And Howe is determined to hold on to his assets, though he is keen to get his young professionals experience out on loan.

He said: “We’ll definitely look to get some of the younger players out on loan so we’ll wait and see what happens there. We’re talking to a couple of clubs currently.

“The window continually surprises you, and we’ll see if
we get any bids for our players.

“We don’t have to sell, that’s for sure. But football being football you just never know what’s round the corner and you can’t make promises because you don’t know potentially may happen.

“But we certainly don’t want to sell anybody – one of our main men definitely.

“It’s a case of trying to keep what we have, keep our best players – it’s always a battle but that’s what we’ll look to do.”

Huddersfield boss Simon Grayson had stated his intent to hold on to Rhodes, but money talks, and Howe added: “That’s very much the case – you don’t want to sell any of your best players but in football things can happen.

“But we want a settled squad – I think we’ve got a settled squad now, and we just want to add a couple because due to injuries we need a couple of attacking options.

“That’s where we are at the moment. I don’t think we can afford to lose anybody – we’re too thin on the groun.”

I understand there could still be late interest in midfielder Chris McCann, who was linked with Norwich and Swansea earlier in the summer – with Everton also monitoring the Dubliner.

Once the window closes, there is the small matter of the game against Brighton, and Howe hopes to have Martin Paterson fit after missing the last three games with a hamstring tear.

He said: “We’ve had the scans so we know he’s not going to be long. Whether it’s Saturday we’ll wait and see.

“You miss your best players, and Pato is certainly one of our best players.

“He’s a real talent when he’s fit and running, and you can see the difference he made against Bolton.

“Whenever he’s been fit for me he’s been excellent.”

Both games between Burnley and Brighton last term were heated affairs, especially at the Amex Stadium, where the hosts had Romain Vincelot and Ashley Barnes dismissed early on.

The Clarets won both matches 1-0. Howe said: “It was an odd afternoon down there – two red cards, which is unusual for the same team.

“Both games were strange because there seemed to be a lot of incidents.

“Hopefully we’ll be talking about the football after and it will be a good game.

“I get on well with Gus. I think he’s a real football man so I’ve got no problems there, and I respect the job that he’s done and his Brighton team. But it’s up to us to perform.”

Asked what sparked the trouble, he added: “The first one I think Marvin got elbowed, the second one was a tackle.

“I don’t see either side having any disciplinary problems – two football teams known for their passing style – but there was a bit of aggro. I don’t think that will be repeated. I’m sure it will be all about the football.”

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