FOR Clarets fans, Saturday proved to be something of a day of reckoning.
Braced for losing Jay Rodriguez in the summer, Burnley were given a glimpse of what the future may be like without him.
It made for painful viewing.
The Clarets were devoid of creativity after the striker failed to re-appear for the second half, through injury, and there was little in the way of a response to Crystal Palace’s equalising penalty until the last few seconds.
It’s been an all too familiar story of late.
On the three occasions Rodriguez hasn’t scored in the last 11 games, neither have Burnley – statistics that don’t bode well for the prospect of the England Under 21 cap moving on to pastures new in the summer.
How do you replace someone who fulfils every requirement of a centre forward, without writing a cheque for a seven or eight-figure sum?
Although Rodriguez has played the lone striker role on occasion, he is more than a target man, but a Turf Moor return for Sam Vokes – on a permanent basis this time – could be an option, certainly for his aerial ability.
The powerful striker settled in quickly during his loan spell at Turf Moor, and earned favour with fans for his en-deavour and con-tributions to wins over Hull, Ipswich, West Ham and Brighton, where he is now on loan.
Of the Clarets’ in-house options, Martin Paterson is still finding his way back to form after a succession of long-term injuries.
He ended his first season with the club on 19 goals as Burnley won promotion via the play-offs. He has made only 30 starts, in all competitions, since, but remains confident of getting back to his 2008/09 best.
Zavon Hines has yet to blossom for Burnley, but Charlie Austin showed plenty of predatory promise before injury, while the early evidence of Danny Ings suggests he has a trick or two up his sleeve.
Together they bring all the relevant attacking qualities to the table.
But Rodriguez is the all in one; the complete package.
He’s not just “one of our own” as Burnley fans sing, he’s one on his own.