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Burnley manager Howe: I can get my men
BURNLEY manager Eddie Howe is optimistic about securing his summer transfer targets, despite facing competition from Championship rivals.
Leeds United midfielder Adam Clayton and Portsmouth’s versatile right back Joel Ward have attracted plenty of interest from Turf Moor and elsewhere since news broke of the pair’s availability, while the Clarets have already had an offer for young Mansfield defender Luke O’Neill turned down.
But Howe insists he is confident he can get the men that he wants to take the club forward, and improve on last year’s 13th-placed finish.
The 34-year-old has not specified the exact number of players that he hopes to bring in during his second close season at Turf Moor, but has earmarked the areas for improvement.
“We know the key positions we want to strengthen, and numbers can change depending on certain things,” he said.
“We know the targets, so we’ll see.
“Not a lot has happened yet in terms of ins or outs, but we have our targets, we know who we want, and it’s a case of waiting for things to unfold.
“I think every manager up and down the country will be saying they want their business done early, and I’m no different, but the reality is sometimes deals take longer than you first anticipated, so we’re keen to get on with it, knowing we’re waiting on certain things.
“I’m confident we can get who we’ve identified and who we want.
“We’re just waiting for things to unravel.”
The Clarets’ offer for rated Mansfield right back O’Neill fell short of the Stags’ asking price, but Burnley have not ruled out returning with an improved off.
They are among a number of club’s in pursuit of Clayton, who Leeds are looking to move on after failing to agree a new deal, and Ward, who is expected to leave Fratton Park as Portsmouth prepare for life in League One.
Howe missed out on wanted man Jason Shackell last summer, as the players wage demands proved a stumbling block and was ultimately key in his decision to join Derby County from Barnsley.
Burnley struggled to find a defender in the same mould as the 6ft 4ins defender after that, but Howe insists that 12 months on he is better prepared for the cut-throat nature of transfer business in the Championship.
“If you miss out on a target, you work your way down your list, which isn’t ideal, because you want the ones you feel will make a big difference,” he said.
“The league is all about quality and you want the players that can make that difference.
“But they are in high demand and coveted by a lot of clubs.
“We’ll endeavour to get the ones we feel will make a big difference to our starting eleven.”
Meanwhile, Burnley defender Daniel Lafferty has received his first senior Northern Ireland call-up.
The left back will join Clarets team-mate Michael Duff for next month’s international friendly with the Netherlands, after a good season with Derry City and an eye-catching start to his Turf Moor career, despite a niggling injury.
Lafferty is among a number of uncapped players to be selected in Michael O’Neill’s 24-man squad, including Swansea’s Rory Donnelly, Scotland-born Coventry defender James McPake and Walsall’s Will Grigg.
As well as Duff, who earned a recall after four years for their friendly against Norway in February, former Burnley loanee Josh McQuoid will be another familiar face.
The game, which forms part of the Netherlands’ preparations for their Euro 2012 campaign, takes place at the Amsterdam Arena on June 2.
The full Northern Ireland squad is: Lee Camp, Alan Mannus, Roy Carroll; Michael Duff, Ryan McGivern, Lee Hodson, Colin Coates, Rory McArdle, Daniel Lafferty, James McPake; Sammy Clingan, Grant McCann, Corry Evans, Shane Ferguson, Jeff Hughes, Oliver Norwood, Pat McCourt; David Healy, Josh McQuoid, Niall McGinn, Josh Carson, Andrew Little, William Grigg, Rory Donnelly.