STAN Ternent is optimistic that Tom Cowan will stay at Turf Moor as Burnley look to carry on where they left off last season.

The Clarets were unbeaten in the final 11 games of the campaign to banish the spectre of relegation and finish 15th in the Second Division.

Ally Pickering has since departed, along with Brian Reid and 10 squad players, but Ternent has made moves to keep Cowan and Paul Cook.

The pair made a massive difference to Burnley's fortunes and were rewarded with contract offers.

There were also new deals for Ronnie Jepson, whose winner against Fulham clinched Second Division safety, Peter Swan and Mark Robertson.

Ternent has already stated his hope that Robertson will sign up again and is confident that the other deals, including that for Cowan, can also be agreed.

"I think it will be alright. I have spoken to them about it and everything seems to be okay," confirmed the Burnley boss, who hopes to start getting signatures on paper in the next couple of months.

Cowan was an outstanding success in the problem left-back area, and Ternent will be able to sign him on a free transfer if personal terms are agreed.

The 29-year-old former Rangers and Sheffield United man will be out of contract at the end of the month after Burnley took over the final part of his deal with Huddersfield Town.

And fans' favourite Cowan made it clear after helping Burnley beat the drop that he would like to turn his stay with the Clarets into a permanent one.

Cook's signing is not so straightforward in that he remains under contract to First Division Stockport County for a further year. The player would appear to be happy with things at the Turf Moor end, but his arrival will depend on negotiations with County.

Manager Gary Megson is holding out for a fee for the experienced midfield schemer, while Ternent naturally wants to pick up the former Wolves and Coventry man for as little as he can.

Any deal is currently on hold but Ternent remains hopeful of reaching an agreement.

"I have spoken to Paul and he would like to come. Hopefully something will be sorted out," added the Clarets manager.

Meanwhile, Manchester City boss Joe Royle has denied any interest in potential Burnley target John Mullin.

A Sunday paper yesterday claimed Royle was set to make Mullin his first summer signing after the former Burnley man was handed a free transfer by Sunderland.

But Royle today dismissed the story which could still leave the way clear for Ternent to make a move if he wants to bring Mullin back to Turf Moor.

Former Burnley boss Adrian Heath looks set to be named as the new manager of Sheffield United.

Heath, who played for the Blades between his two spells at Turf Moor, will leave his position as number two to Peter Reid at Sunderland if he is named as Steve Bruce's successor at Bramall Lane.

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