Date: 3rd July 2012 at 12:41pm
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Eddie Howe made great play about wanting to get all his new signings in place before pre-season training began. Well unless there is going to be a rush of players signed within the next three days the gaffer is going to have to be happy with just the one signing, Luke O` Neill signed from Mansfield last month.

The first pre-season training session starts on Friday 6th July and already the club seem to be coming out with the same lame old excuses for not signing players. It`s a quiet market, we have no money, we will use the youth players to give them experience and bring them on. In other words prepare yourself for another season of average football whilst the club prepare for long-term promotion! Long term? How long is a piece of string and at what point will they actually show their ambition by putting some money behind their dreams to achieve promotion and will FIFA Fair Play by then allow them to do so with falling gates, dropping season ticket sales (as per this season) and even lower turnover? We all know the answers to that, unless someone with financial muscle and a little bit more daring comes into this club we will just plod along like we have over at least the last twenty years or so!

Of course the media speculation suggests the club are rolling in money and will sign I don`t know how many players before the start of 2012-13. The reality is they probably will sign a few on the cheap from the lower leagues expecting them to perform in the Championship; a league which gets more and more difficult to get out of every season! Meanwhile our deadliest rivals down the road somehow find the brass to sign the likes of Danny Murphy and Leon Best. It is all so depressing.

The club have to ask themselves why they have to use the sale of Jay Rodriguez to fund their debt rather than give the gaffer a sizeable chuck to spend on rebuilding the squad to the depth of quality and quantity we need to mount a realistic chance of promotion. The short answer is two years showing no ambition whatsoever and returning this club to midtable mediocrity and falling revenues! The club have basically relied on parachute payments to keep them afloat and now even that is dwindling. With season ticket sales plummeting and a general sense of apathy amongst fans, the club really have to try something different to get us out of this rut! Will they? I doubt it!

The Clarets operated with a pretty small squad last season and it looks like Howe expects a similar situation during the new campaign with a suggestion he is going to have to take advantage instead of the new seven substitutes ruling and bring on some of the young guns.

Howe said:

“I think we are going to have to be clever with the players we let go out on loan and if there is a need to bring players in to supplement the bench, or at times to supplement the team, we will pick from our development squad, because we would like to see some of those players develop.

“It`s probably the first time where we have a group there that is really strong and I think they all have a chance to develop into first-team players.

“Not all of them will, that`s the nature of football and a lot of it will be down to individual attitudes.

“But I would like to think there will be a good pool to pick from.”

I am sure the thought of that has our Championship rivals shaking in their boots!

Come on let`s be honest for this squad to have any chance of promotion next season Howe will have to bring in some key players of the right quality but does he have the right targets in mind?

Let`s start with players the media think we have on our radar! The same old names keep cropping up time and time again.

It would appear that Jason Shackell could again be back on the target list despite Derby County turning down two offers from the club reported to be in the region of £800,000-£1 million.

Another two clubs though at least are thought to be interested, including high-spending Cardiff who also are reported to have had an offer turned down. Shackell was thought to have been one of Howe`s top summer targets but the 28 year old looked set to remain a Rams player after Derby chief executive Tom Glick called Shackell ‘an essential player` a couple of weeks ago suggesting they were preparing to keep their captain at Pride Park.

The latest gossip though suggests Derby`s stance could now be softening, with boss Nigel Clough desperate to raise funds to strengthen his squad elsewhere ahead of the new season.

If Derby are still willing to sell though, we may well have to fork out well over £1 million and with Cardiff sniffing around, we would probably lose out to them in any bidding war.

Another player who continues to be mentioned is former Wolves loan striker, Sam Vokes

Vokes is understood to be interested in a permanent move to Burnley and Howe certainly seems keen on signing the 22 year old. Brighton though who also loaned the striker last season would now appear to be in the running too despite earlier reports that they had no interest in signing him.

The Welsh international is seeking regular first team football but his chances at Wolves seem uncertain despite the club`s relegation and the reported rumoured departure of former Claret striker, Steven Fletcher to Sunderland. It is not clear how new Wolves boss, Stale Solbakken views Vokes as a potential first team player and he may well still find himself down the pecking order. It is clear though that the former Bournemouth striker wants a quick resolution with just one year of his contract at Molineux to go.

Eddie Howe of course previously worked with Vokes at Dean Court so may have the advantage over other clubs seeking to sign him and there is yet another Bournemouth player who we continue to be linked with and that is former Burnley youth striker Marc Pugh(pictured above)

The 25 year old now a midfielder appears to have rejected the chance to extend his deal at Dean Court and is reportedly now expected to return to his former club under his former gaffer at Bournemouth. With just 12 months left to run on his current contract, Bournemouth chairman Eddie Mitchell admits he may have to sell the player rather than risk losing him for nothing on a Bosman next summer.

“They have got to come up with a good offer and a good offer is what he is worth to us over the next year, said Mitchell

“We have got to consider whether he stays with us next season and walks away for nothing, or if we get a fee for him now”

Pugh is a local lad and a former pupil at All Saints Catholic Language College in Rawtenstall and he came through the youth system at Burnley before being released by the club in 2006 at the age of 19 after learning he would not be offered a professional contract. He went onto play for a number of lower league clubs including Bury, Shrewsbury and Hereford before Howe signed him for Bournemouth in June 2010. Pugh started off life as a striker but he has also scored 26 goals from a wide midfield position and is thought to be keen to now step up a level to the Championship.

He is thought to be worth about £400,000-£500,000 with other Championship clubs including Derby County and Cardiff City reportedly interested. Howe though managed Pugh for six months on the south coast at Dean Court before moving to Turf Moor and could be in the driving seat to sign him especially with Pugh`s local connections too.

Burnley also continue to be linked with a move for 23-year-old, Norwich City striker Chris Martin. Both Crystal Palace and Millwall though are also thought to be in the frame. Palace may well have the advantage. He spent most of last season at Selhurst Park on loan, scoring seven times in 28 appearances for the Eagles.

Vital Burnley have mentioned all these players before in our Rumour Mill and there were no new additions rumoured to be on our radar last week.

One major concern for all Clarets fans could be the reported interest from Newcastle in player of the year Burnley right back, Kieran Trippier. Newcastle`s interest in Trippier all started when regular right back Danny Simpson turned down a new contract at St James` Park with a year left to run. However Newcastle gaffer, Alan Pardew appears to now have French international full back Mathieu Debuchy as his prime target and even if they fail to sign him, the club seem to now be saying that Simpson could still remain at the club even if he refuses to agree a new deal.

“Danny could play the whole season next year,” Pardew said.

“We`ll have to see.”

That would certainly be good news for all Clarets fans and the Lancashire Telegraph also report that the club, under no financial pressure to sell following the departure of Jay Rodriguez expect to hold on to the 21 year old.

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