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Burnley blog: Howe Clarets are shaping up
EDDIE Howe will celebrate a year in charge of Burnley Football Club on Monday.
The seeds of change have well and truly been sown since his arrival from AFC Bournemouth.
Brian Laws’ successor took on a team of experienced professionals struggling to re-write the success story of 2009.
There had been a few additions in their attempts to achieve immediate promotion back to the Premier League.
But the existing play-off heroes recognised they had been fortunate to go up in the first place.
Howe recognised the likelihood that it wasn’t going to happen again – not with them – and set about rebuilding.
Charlie Austin and Marvin Bartley – his first signings – were familiar faces to the former defender, if not the Turf Moor faithful.
Neither got off to the greatest of starts. Nor did Howe in truth, winning four of his first six, but later losing four in a row.
Howe is not about quick fixes though. His focus was, and remains, on laying firm foundations for the future of the team and the club.
Six of the players who started his first game in charge, on a bitterly cold afternoon at Scunthorpe United, have gone.
He would have been resigned to Chris Eagles and Tyrone Mears leaving when the right offer came along, which it did two weeks before this season started. The fairly swift arrival of Kieran Trippier and long-term target Keith Treacy suggested he was braced for both.
An agreement to get Jack Cork back from Chelsea, permanently, could not be reached, Wade Elliott was sold to Birmingham City on the final day of the summer transfer window, while Clarke Carlisle had already had a season-long loan to Preston North End approved.
Danny Fox would have been the one Howe desperately didn’t want to lose, and the lack of a replacement has given cause for concern since.
That may be something he still has time to address before January 31.
The fruits of his other transfer labours are ripening. His young crop are growing and improving together. When the table looked bleak after a run of four straight defeats, Howe kept faith with his players and his ideas, believing they would turn it around.
Crucially the board kept faith with Howe and they ended 2011 on a high.
In the second half of the season, and Howe’s second year, it’s time to push on.