BURNLEY return to pre-season training today and begin their quest to return to the Premier League. We take a look at areas where the club still need to strengthen ahead of their first Championship match in August....

THE disappointment of relegation must be put firmly behind Burnley today as a new challenge begins in earnest.

Brian Laws’ Clarets report back for pre-season training at Gawthorpe this morning, with the target of an immediate promotion back to the Premier League firmly in their sights.

There will be a new captain, following the departure of Steven Caldwell at the end of the three-and-a-half year contract he signed from Sunderland.

Defenders Stephen Jordan and Christian Kalvenes, midfielder Joey Gudjonsson and goalkeeper Nicky Weaver were also released from the squad, while popular playmaker Robbie Blake rejected new terms and top scorer Steven Fletcher completed a club record £7.5m sale to Wolves.

The rebuilding process has begun with the arrival of Scotland striker Chris Iwelumo from Molineux and midfielder Dean Marney from also-relegated Hull City.

But more new faces are expected before the season kicks off at home to Nottingham Forest on August 7.


Brian Jensen, Burnley’s longest serving current player, will still be the man to challenge for the gloves, but boss Laws will be keen to bring in a stopper to really put the pressure on the Dane.

Diego Penny has a year left to run on his contract but has started only one league game since arriving from Coronel Bolognesi in 2008.

He was immediately dropped by former boss Owen Coyle, and will not have made the best impression on Laws either.

Newcastle youngster Fraser Forster is hotly tipped to be arriving at Turf Moor on a season-long loan.

The 22-year-old has risen through the ranks at St James’ Park but has yet to make a senior appearance. However, he impressed during an eight-month loan spell with Norwich City, where 21 clean sheets in 42 appearances earned him the players’ player of the season gong.


Ideally a central defender who can provide cover for either full back position should perhaps be on the wanted list, after shedding Caldwell and Jordan, but Laws seems content with what he has at his disposal.

Central defender David Edgar, right back Richard Eckersley and left back Brian Easton spent their first season at Turf Moor in the wilderness, as the Clarets plumped for experience to get them through a tough Premier League campaign.

The likelihood of them being given a chance is more favourable in the Championship.

It’s an important pre-season for the young trio as they bid to force their way into Laws’ plans ahead of the likes of Tyrone Mears, January signings Leon Cort and Danny Fox.


Burnley renewed a long-standing interest in Andrew Driver, but after having at least two offers turned back this summer, they seem set to try to replace Blake with an alternative out-and-out wide man.

Losing play-off finalists Cardiff will not allow Peter Whittingham to go cheaply, but the Clarets seem determined to land one of their two key targets in this position.

Laws has revealed he will move on and not be held to ransom over Driver, but the Bluebirds could dig their heels in just as much over last season’s joint-top Championship scorer.


Billy Sharp has turned down the chance to be reunited with Laws, his former boss at Scunthorpe United, to fight for his place at boyhood club Sheffield United.

The Clarets boss brushed off Sharp’s decision by insisting he is happy with the strikeforce he has got.

That is good news for Burnley-born Jay Rodriguez, who is fully expected to kick on from where he left off after breaking on to the scene during the play-off winning campaign.

Iwelumo, Paterson, Thompson and Rodriguez provide Laws with plenty of attacking options.

But they would be weakened by injury or loss of form.

Perhaps a loan signing could be considered.

Which positions do you think Burnley need to improve? Add your comments below.