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Stock still top target as Howe looks to end project
EDDIE Howe has turned his transfer attentions to midfield as he looks to complete his summer rebuilding project, with Doncaster Rovers star Brian Stock still a prime target.
Having bolstered his backline and added extra ammunition in attack with the five he has brought in so far, the Clarets boss has centred his search on strengthening the final outfield area needing attention.
“Midfield is the area we now look to improve,” he said.
“We don’t need drastic work, just tweaks, we have a good core, the other units are finished, it’s just a case of adding in midfield.”
Howe would have hoped to have a deal finalised by now. Not only has he monitored the Stock’s situation since Doncaster were relegated last season, but he was keen to secure as many targets as possible before their pre-season tour of Bath got underway.
Sam Vokes was added to the squad in time for their game at Bath City on Tuesday.
But the club is not anticipating further new arrivals before the weekend, as they prepare to round off their summer training camp with their fourth friendly, at Cheltenham Town tomorrow.
Burnley have made moves to bring 30-year-old Stock to Turf Moor in recent weeks but have so far been unsuccessful.
But Howe has already demonstrated his patience this summer, biding his time before securing long-term target Jason Shackell from Derby County, and landing Vokes in a cut-price £350,000 three days ago. It is understood Wolves initially asked for £500,000.
And Howe insists he is prepared to wait again if necessary.
Of the timescale in he said: “We’re flexible on that, it’s about the right player.”
Stock’s wages are believed to be the reason for the move not happening earlier this summer, and I understand it remains a stumbling block but one both parties are hoping to resolve quickly.
Meanwhile, Howe was hoping for a positive injury update on Marvin Bartley, who has been ruled out of the pre-season programme so far with an ankle injury.
“Marvin’s frustrated, he’s still got his big protective boot on,” Howe explained.
“He has another scan today (Friday) so I think that comes off and hopefully it’s healed up and we’re ready to push him on.
“He’s had a stress fracture which hadn’t entirely healed over the summer, so with the rest and the boot, hopefully that’s solved the problem.”
Martin Paterson and Kieran Trippier both came through yesterday’s training session unscathed.
Paterson missed Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Bath City as a precaution following a minor knock to his knee, while Trippier went off around the hour mark after being the victim of a late challenge.
Howe said: “Pato had a slight problem with his knee, nothing serious.
“Tripps is okay, I don’t think it’s anything too serious thankfully, you don’t want to see any player go down, let alone someone of his calibre, so I was pleased to see him walking around after.”
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