Burnley FC look to Delfouneso as Austin is ruled out

Nathan Delfouneso
Nathan Delfouneso
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BURNLEY are believed to be one of a number of clubs interested in taking Aston Villa’s England Under-21 striker Nathan Delfouneso on loan.

The pacy forward is set to leave Villa Park on loan to get some game time under his belt, along with Leeds target Barry Bannan and right-back Chris Herd, after Gerard Houllier’s side fell to a disappointing FA Cup exit at Manchester City last Wednesday.

And he would appear to fit the bill, with the Clarets light in the striking department after Charlie Austin was ruled out for the season with a dislocated shoulder, joining Steven Thompson (groin) and Martin Paterson (thigh) on the sidelines, with the pair unlikely to figure again this term.

Delfouneso is likely to be allowed to move down into the Championship, with the 20-year-old down the pecking order with Gabriel Agbonlahor first choice back-up for Ashley Young at present.

Houllier had earlier made it clear no-one else would be leaving Villa on loan, but he has an embarrassment of riches up front, and Delfouneso could be given the chance to get some experience, with Villa having only one game between now and April 2.

On Saturday, Clarets assistant boss Jason Tindall outlined that Eddie Howe will not be hurried into bringing someone in for the sake of it, but there could be more than one signing to boost Burnley’s promotion bid.

The club have also been linked with West Ham’s former Blackburn forward Benni McCarthy, as well as Birmingham pair Kevin Phillips and Matt Derbyshire, and Tindall said: “We’re obviously short in the centre forward department.

“It’s important that we try to keep big Chris (Iwelumo) and Jay (Rodriguez) fit.

“We can’t really afford to lose any more strikers.

“It’s just the way football goes sometimes and hopefully they can stay fit and continue to perform well.

“But we’re not going to go out and sign just anybody.

“If we do bring anyone in, it’s got to be the right person who’s going to make us stronger as a team and improve our squad.

“If that person is available we’ll try and do it, if not then we’re not going to rush into anything.”

Asked whether there might be more than one arrival, he added, possibly.

“If the right players are going to be available and an asset to the squad then we’ll try to do it providing we can.

“But we’re not in any great rush, we’ve got a fantastic squad, we are short on numbers, but the lads who are fit are very good players.

“Hopefully we won’t get any more injuries.”

Tindall was disappointed for Austin, who has made only four appearances since arriving from Swindon Town for £1.2m in January.

He has a setback with a virus that forced him out of the trip to Watford, before suffering a dislocated shoulder in training last week.

Austin had a shoulder problem in September, forcing him out for over a month, and Tindall said: “It’s a shame. It’s been a difficult start for him.

“He came here looking forward to the challenge and first he was off ill for a week, and that set him back a little bit, then when he does come back he gets a bad shoulder injury.

“But that’s now behind us. Charlie will get that sorted and I’m sure when he does come back he’ll come back very fit and raring to go.

“He did it in training towards the end of Monday’s session, probably in the last five minutes.

“He fell awkwardly on his shoulder.

“It’s disappointing for everybody that he’s dislocated it. It’s a little bit of a blow for us.”

Howe said in a statement on Saturday: “Charlie dislocated his shoulder in training on Monday this week, and is due to go under the knife on Wednesday, to have an operation to sort the problem out.

“He will be out for the season but should be back as good as new for the first day of pre-season.

“It’s really bad luck for the lad because we’ve all got high hopes for him here, but he is one for the long term and we have to take the long term view on it and protect him by getting the operation done now and getting him right for next season.”

Tindall, however, points to the fact that Burnley have plenty of goals in the side, even without Austin, Thompson and Paterson.

Chris Eagles, Chris Iwelumo and Jay Rodriguez alone have 32 goals in all competitions, and Tindall said: “Chris Eagles will always chip in with his fair share of goals as well and he’ll create many goals as well.

“We have got goals in the team, we’ve proved all season that we will score goals and that’s why keeping a clean sheet at the other end pleased us on Saturday, because that’s an area where we felt we’ve leaked a few.

“It’s not just the back four, it’s as a team.

“I thought we defended well as a team and it was good to get that clean sheet.”