Date: 9th August 2012 at 10:44am
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Burnley manager Eddie Howe has told the press he is worried about the full extent of the knee injury sustained by Danny Ings this week. Ings was injured in the second half against Rochdale at Spotland on Tuesday night. It was a pretty miserable night all round for the Clarets with the team also losing 3-1 against the League 2 opposition and finishing their pre-season schedule on a low note following four wins out of four friendies during the summer. We look at the relevance of this defeat, review the game and give an update on the Ings injury. Let`s first start with the Ings injury situation

The gaffer is certainly worried and seems to be preparing fans for the worst! Howe does not yet know the seriousness of the problem sustained by Ings but we shall have to hope that the knee injury is not going to lead to a repeat of last season when Ings missed the start of the season after picking up a cruciate knee ligament injury in training just a few days after signing for the club.

‘My big concern is Danny Ings because we don’t know how he is. That will be my big worry,’ Howe told The Lancashire Telegraph.

‘I don’t know how or what he’s done, we don’t know if it’s a twist or what.

‘We’ll find out, but it’s certainly a worry because he’s been excellent so far.’

‘The need is pressing from our side because we are light in certain areas. If Danny’s injured that’s going to be a concern for us in terms of things we can do during a game and setting the team out.

‘We’re hopeful to do something but we’ll wait and see.’

The big question is whether we have enough firepower up front if Danny Ings is laid-off for any length of time. Sam Vokes is now back on board and will hopefully be a fitting replacement for Jay Rodriguez who of course was sold to Southampton in the summer but realistically that then leaves just Charlie Austin and Martin Paterson. If Paterson has finally got over his injury proneness we might be able to survive the temporary loss of Ings assuming of course we can also hold on to Austin. Austin has been recently linked with moves to both Huddersfield and Blackpool .It will be interesting to see if Howe is now back in the market for a striker either permanently or more likely on loan but I guess first he will be waiting to see the extent of Ings` injury. He also has the option of blooding some of his more youthful strikers on the periphery of first team action such as Wes Fletcher and Alex MacDonald. Whatever happens though the Ings injury could be a severe blow and we shall all have to hope it`s not a serious one.

The injury on Tuesday night just compounded the misery for Clarets fans who also had to endure seeing their team lose 3-1 to lowly League 2 opposition. Of course everybody says when you lose friendlies, they don`t matter but do they? Is losing a game just before the start of a new season good for confidence and morale especially against a club plying their trade two leagues below us? One argument on the other side of the coin is that developing a winning way can only enhance our chances of getting the new season off to a good start so typically losing the last of our summer friendlies having won the previous four just seems like bad timing! There is no getting away from the fact this was an unsatisfactory performance from the Clarets especially at a time when Howe will now be fine-tuning his thoughts for a starting eleven with a view to the new season soon upon us. We face Port Vale in the Capital One Cup first round clash at Vale Park on the night of Tuesday 14th August in our season opener. There will certainly have to be significant improvements in that game if we are to avoid defeat against another League 2 side. It is almost critical too that we do get through to the second round because we will need confidence to be high going into the Championship opener against Bolton at Turf Moor a few days later on Saturday 18th August.

So why did we play so badly against Rochdale after such a good pre-season in the previous four friendlies? Well we did have a strange team out there at times but that should be no real excuse considering our likely first team players for the Championship challenge ahead were on show at Rochdale on Tuesday night.

Burnley lined-up as follows for the start of the game:

Grant , Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Edgar, Mills, Wallace, Stanislas, Ings , Paterson, Vokes . Subs: Jensen, O’Neill, Long, Mee, Lafferty, McCann, Marney, Hewitt, Porter, MacDonald, Austin

The starting eleven was basically an experiment with David Edgar and Danny Ings taking up a central midfield role and needless to say it was an experiment that failed! Within four minutes, Rochdale were ahead with worryingly our new strengthened defence looking clueless. Rochdale`s Ashley Grimes and Kevin McIntyre linked well to open up our defence and McIntyre`s square pass to Dele Adebola allowed the 37 year old veteran striker to turn and put a left-footed shot past Lee Grant. Not bad for our former loan player who had only been on Rochdale`s books for an hour after completing a free transfer that day!

Burnley were almost immediately back on level terms after Ings picking up the ball from a Paterson lay-off, charged forward into the box only to clip a deflected shot over the bar via the legs of Dale keeper, Josh Lillis. The danger signs were there though and Rochdale doubled their lead with just 26 minutes on the clock. Former Stanley captain, Peter Cavanagh released George Donnelly down the left flank and he put over a cross to find Grimes to slide the ball home at the far post. Rochdale also came close on a few occasions to making it 3-0! Both Grimes and Cavanagh put efforts over the top and Edwards and Adebola should have done better with basically the free headers they were given just before the break. Burnley pressure though was mounting at times and the home team`s keeper was certainly kept busy during a period where the Clarets were awarded ten corners. The only real time the keeper was worried though was four minutes before half-time after Paterson ran onto a pass from Trippier to attempt a first time shot. The ball flew across the keeper but he managed to get down and save well. The Clarets also had other chances and both Wallace and Vokes just failed with long-range efforts. Sam Vokes still looking for his first goal since re-joining the Clarets should have done better too after picking up an Edgar pass but could only poke his volley wide of target. 2-0 then at half-time and perhaps surprisingly Eddie Howe made just one change. Brian Jensen took over the gloves in goal.

Burnley were trying hard to get back in the game but were clearly struggling against a buoyant Rochdale side. Rochdale were going in hard into the tackle and Danny Ings felt the full force of one challenge going off injured with a knee injury. Eddie Howe now took the opportunity to change things round a bit bringing on both Chris McCann and Dean Marney in the 64th minute. There were now also three central defenders as the Clarets looked to get back in contention and pull a goal back. Sadly for the Clarets, it had the opposite effect and a few minutes after the changes Burnley went further behind. A chip from McIntyre found Dale substitute, Putterill. In acres of space, the striker ran into the box to steer a volley into the top corner of the net to further deflate a lacklustre Burnley team. With their tails now raised even further, they now looked likely to increase their lead again. Jensen had to save an attempt by Jason Kennedy but gradually Burnley kept their composure and came close to scoring themselves. Edwards the on loan Blackburn defender managed to deny Paterson after getting back to rob the ball just as the Irishman was about to shoot. Burnley though did manage to get a consolation goal with just five minutes remaining and it was that man Austin again who scored to keep the result reasonably respectable. Austin had come on from the bench to replace Vokes after 75 minutes and his sharpness soon paid dividends. He headed home from a Junior Stanislas corner to score his fifth pre-season goal in as many games. So a disappointing night and all Clarets fans will be hoping those that say friendlies don`t matter will be proven right!

BURNLEY: Grant (Jensen ht), Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Edgar, Mills, Wallace (Marney 64), Stanislas, Ings (McCann 64), Paterson, Vokes (Austin 75). Subs: O’Neill, MacDonald, Long, Hewitt, Mee, Lafferty, Porter

ROCHDALE: Lillis, Pearson, McIntyre (Bennett 83), R Edwards (Rafferty 90), P Edwards, Kennedy, Tutte, Donnelly (Craney 70), Grimes (Curran 62), Cavanagh (McConville 62), Adebola (Putterill ht). Subs: Minihan, Byrne, Watson, Adabaki, Barry-Murphy

Referee: J Moss