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Clarets to assess Martin Paterson ahead of trip to Leicester
BURNLEY manager Eddie Howe insists they will work with Martin Paterson on a game-by-game basis, and not risk pushing the injury-plagued striker too hard.
With the Clarets preparing for their second of three games in a week, Howe says he will consult the 25-year-old to see how he feels about facing Leicester City tomorrow fresh from coming through 63 minutes of Saturday’s 5-2 win over Peterborough United.
It was the first game the Northern Ireland forward had started since suffering a slight hamstring tear in the opening day win over Bolton.
Paterson, who has been beset by a variety of injuries over the last three seasons, made his comeback as a half-time substitute against Brighton before the international break, but pulled out of his country’s two World Cup qualifiers to concentrate on improving his fitness at Gawthorpe.
Howe (pictured) hopes that the Clarets can now reap the benefits of his decision to spend extra time on the club training ground.
But the Burnley boss admits he faces a tough balancing act with Paterson, bearing in mind Burnley are unbeaten in the last 14 league games that the striker has started.
“We’ve got to be careful with him but at the end of the day we want to play him as well because you can see the impact he has on our results,” said Howe.
“We’ll sit down and have a chat with him and see how he feels.
“There was no ill reaction from Saturday so we’ll make that decision in the week.
“He’ll be feeling stronger and stronger the more games he comes through and hopefully we can get a run of games where Pato is fit and available for us.
"Not going away with the internationals, as much as it was a blow for them, was the right call for him.”
Howe has not ruled out starting with Paterson at Leicester tomorrow night, but is aware that, if he does, he may not be able to play him for a full game.
“I think with Pato we've had to come up with a plan to say we need to keep him fit and fresh,” he said.
“Looking back on the last game against Bolton I think it was the 75-minute mark where he just started feeling tired and weary. We've got to protect him when he gets to that stage.
“Before we got to that time on Saturday we had to make a decision.
“Regardless of how the game was going we would have made the same decision because we've got to protect him and keep him fit for the long-term.”