Frustrating is probably the best way to describe our draw at Scunthorpe on Saturday.
I’m happy enough with the clean sheet – the second in two games you know – but I think the fact we failed to stick away any of our chances is enough to show we need some major strengthening in the final third.
The pitch hardly helped our cause but we had enough chance, especially in the second half, to put Scunny out of sight and get Eddie Howe’s Burnley career off to the perfect start.
We didn’t and while only coming away with a point is a tad disappointing, I think there was enough positives to suggest we’re heading in the right direction at last.
The lads worked extremely hard off the ball and the energy of Jack Cork and Dean Marney – recalled instead of Graham Alexander – was impressive, especially in the second half.
Jay Rodriguez was handed a difficult task up front on his own but, as always, he got on with the job. The introduction of Chris Iwelumo for the ineffective Ross Wallace came at the right time although the big man will be disappointed not to have stuck on of his two chances away.
Defensively we looked pretty sound although Michael Duff can perhaps count himself a little lucky not to have gone after a comical kung-fu style kick on Forte just before half time.
Clarke Carlisle, fresh from his Question Time appearance midweek, looked a lot more steady than he has done in recent weeks although I’d still like to see Andre Bikey – a half time substitute on Saturday – come back into the fold.
Bikey was one of our best players after his introduction, strong in the tackle and using the ball very well. His continued absence from the starting line-up is a little puzzling.
So what did we actually learn from the new boss’ first game in charge? Well, on a difficult pitch it was hard to take much from the performance but I think the renewed sense of purpose which we showed was a plus point, as was the off-the-ball work which meant we at least tried to get possession back quickly.
He certainly has a big task on his hand and the fact that we have a couple of away games on the bounce means that we could be further out of the play off picture if our historic bad luck away from Turf Moor continues.
But the players seem happy in themselves and that was something that was sadly lacking towards the end of Brian Laws’ tenure.
A second clean sheet in as many games will be a boost to the often-criticised Lee Grant who I thought had a decent enough game, albeit after flapping at an early corner.
I know the fans want instant success and that burden of expectation will weigh heavy on Howe’s shoulders.
But the fact is we need to patient, let the new man settle in and not put too much pressure on him.
We all want an instant return to the Premier League and I do believe that come the end of the season we will be there or there abouts in the Championship, not a bad return from a season which looked to be faltering big time a month ago.
After watching the QPR game a week ago, and this performance at Scunthorpe, Howe will have an idea of what he needs to do before the transfer window slams shut in a few days time and I am sure we will see some movement this week.
A trip to Portsmouth tomorrow night will be tough but I certainly wouldn’t bet against us putting one over former boss Steve Cotterill.