When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Claret Pato puts club before country
MARTIN Paterson has withdrawn from international duty, so he can focus on getting fit for the Clarets .
The striker made his comeback from a minor hamstring injury as a half-time substitute in Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat to Brighton.
Paterson was a surprise inclusion after suffering a slight muscle tear in the win over Bolton, in which he scored the first of two goals.
Howe admitted the 25-year-old was not 100 per cent fit at the weekend but felt Burnley needed his attacking impetus, after trailing 1-0 to the Seagulls at the break.
The Clarets equalised on the hour, but conceded twice more to slip to a third straight league loss.
Paterson had been set to join up with the Northern Ireland squad tomorrow, ahead of their two World Cup qualifiers against Russia and Luxembourg, after being named in Michael O’Neill’s 23-man selection.
It was expected that the former Scunthorpe and Stoke forward would not be permitted to pull out of his international commitments after playing for his club.
But I understand that after a post-match phonecall to O’Neill, Paterson – who scored a late penalty to equalise in a friendly against Finland when he won his last cap – has been granted time off to continue his rehabilitation following three injury-ravaged seasons.
That will come as a boost to Howe, who wants all of his players fit and firing for when the Championship calendar resumes with the visit of Peterborough on September 15.
Following three straight league defeats, the Burnley boss has called for his side to hit the highs of the opening day win over Bolton Wanderers.
“We have to try to match the tempo of the Bolton game. That’s really our standard and now we’ve got to try to hit that,” said the Burnley boss, who although disappointed by their early run is not getting carried away.
“I think there’s a long way to go and I’m quite level-headed about it.”
However, he admitted shipping five goals following set pieces in their last two league games was cause for concern.
“The goals we’ve conceded have disappointed me. I’d like to think we’re organised and we can deal with set plays. You can rehearse and practice them and you’d like to think we can defend them a lot better than we have done,” Howe added.
“Generally in open play our defending’s been pretty good, I don’t think we’ve conceded a great amount of chances.
“The first goal’s really disappointing because we end up deep and it’s a good finish. We should have dealt with that.
“The second one it’s the second phase, we’re slow to get out and stop the cross.
“Really we shouldn’t concede an overhead kick in our box. We’ve got to have our head on the end of it.
“The third one he just pulled away and lost his man, so it’s hugely disappointing.”
After failing to score against Huddersfield a week before, and relying on an own goal on Saturday, Howe is also aiming for attacking improvements.
“What concerned me was the fact that in the first half (against Brighton) we didn’t really look like scoring a goal or getting close to their box,” he said.
“We put Pato on and he makes a big difference when he’s fit and available to us so hopefully that will be the key for us.
“I think it helps having two up top. That would be a big help to us but then we’re reliant on personnel.
“But hopefully we can play that way.
“It’s difficult with one up front trying to put pressure on their centre halves – I think that’s a difficult job for Charlie (Austin) on his own so we need to give him help.
“It definitely suited us better in the second half.”