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Burnley boss calls on strikers to shine
BURNLEY boss Eddie Howe has challenged his trio of strikers to fill Jay Rodriguez’s boots.
Charlie Austin and Danny Ings have already hit the goal trail in pre-season, while Martin Paterson has featured in both friendlies after bouncing back from another injury ravaged season.
Although the Clarets have made four new signings, with Howe hoping for a fifth before Sunday, they have yet to replenish their attacking numbers following the sale of top scorer Rodriguez to Southampton in the summer.
But the 34-year-old believes his existing three strikers are capable of filling the void.
Austin and Ings have made a good start, with two goals each in two pre-season friendlies.
Austin, who ended his first full season with Burnley with 17 goals, scored twice in the 4-1 win over Altrincham last weekend, with Ings on target at Moss Lane before scoring the winner at Bury in midweek.
“There's a mantel to be grabbed and hopefully they can both grab it along with Pato,” said Howe.
“Jay is going to leave a void there's no doubt about that, what a talent he was, but we do have players capable of filling his shoes and hopefully they will.”
Howe’s focus so far this summer has been on boosting defensive numbers. Out of his four signings, Luke O’Neill and Joseph Mills are fullbacks, and new captain Jason Shackell is an experienced centre half.
The Clarets are set to turn attentions to attack as pre-season progresses.
“I think scoring goals is always the hardest part of the game, and we are fortunate to have some good strikers at the football club,” continued Howe, who is working on bringing in another forward to complement his current crop.
Targetman Sam Vokes has been linked with a return to Turf Moor, where he spent two months on loan last season, but is one of a number of targets.
Should Wolves sell striker Steven Fletcher this summer, the Clarets would be entitled to 15 per cent of any profit. With the Scot expected to fetch upwards of £7million, perhaps as much as £10m, it is possible that Vokes could come back to Burnley in exchange for the sell-on fee they would be owed.
However, I understand the club is looking into other options ahead of that one.
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