Date: 2nd July 2011 at 9:15am
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It has been another busy week for the Clarets this week with pre-season preparations now well underway. The lads returned to training at Gawthorpe on Thursday hoping to shake off the cobwebs after a well-earned rest and holiday.

There are were no new faces though in the squad and the flurry of new signings by the end of June that Howe hinted might happen,never did.

The good news though was that two of our squad members offered new contracts finally agreed deals.

The one that gave Clarets fans most relief of course was the news that Chris McCann had finally put pen to paper and had agreed a new two year deal finally ending speculation that he might have been making the short journey to the Reebok. Owen Coyle had thought to have been sniffing around trying to lure the midfielder to Bolton but it looks like the ‘Bolton legend’ has been thwarted. Bolton though have made their first signing of the summer after the Swansea midfielder Darren Pratley agreed a four-year deal. Pratley was signed after McCann’s deal this week so maybe Coyle was hanging fire waiting to see what happened on the McCann front.

There was no doubt in McCann’s mind though who he was going to sign for. This week he said about his new deal:

“A couple of things needed ironing out. People might have said ‘he is holding out to do something different` but there was never any real doubt about what I wanted to do or where I wanted to be, so it was just a case of finding happy ground for the two (parties) to get it signed.

“I said before I went away (at the end of last season) that I wanted it done before I came back and I just about got there.

“I don`t think contracts these days are quick things.

‘There are lots of things to be sorted out within the contract.

‘I think the club wanted to get a good deal for themselves and I wanted to get a good deal for myself and I think we`ve both come to a stage where I think we are both happy.

“I`m happy staying here at the club I`ve basically grown up playing for.”

Well done, Chris and thanks so much for your loyalty to the club such a rare thing these days.

The other good news concerns our young striker, Alex MacDonald who also signed a new contract this week.

Sky Sports broke the news earlier last month that MacDonald had signed a new one-year contract but there had been no official announcement by the club until this week.

The 21-year-old Scotland Under 21 international forward though only penned a 12-month contract on Thursday this week so Sky Sports were somewhat previous in their assumptions.

“I`m looking forward to this year and hopefully it will be the year to get back in amongst the first team, which is something I`m looking to do,” said MacDonald.

“I had a taste of it when I was younger here and that`s something I want back, especially at this football club. This is where I wanted to be.

“The manager has shown that he is going to give the young lads a chance so hopefully this will be the year for me.”

MacDonald first broke into the side in 2008, but then found opportunities in the first team limited after the Clarets won promotion to the Premier League. Loan spells followed, but it looks like Eddie Howe might now be preparing to give young Alex a chance in the first team squad.

There has been plenty of speculation this week about players who could be coming to the club or indeed leaving but nothing has come to fruition either way.

The Clarets are now one of just six clubs in the Championship yet to make a new signing. The anxiety of Clarets fans might therefore also be being felt at the moment by fans supporting Coventry, Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest, Reading and Southampton. Let’s hope if Southampton do make any signings, that one of them will not be Jack Cork! Some media reports suggest the Saints are now favourites to sign our former loan star and if that happened it would speak volumes about the current strategy regarding financial frugality and ambition at Burnley FC.

18 clubs in the Championship have now brought in at least one new face during the summer. Derby lead the way with 7 new signings closely followed by Barnsley with 6 new faces. Relegated Brum have signed 4 and Bristol City. Hull, Ipswich, Leicester and Millwall 3 each.

Come on Burnley, time for some action before we miss the boat and our targets (assuming we have any) are snapped up.

We were linked with one new player this week although the chances of signing him in the summer look slim if the rumours are true.

Derry City winger James McClean is reported to be attracting the interest of a number of Championship clubs including Burnley, Reading and Blackpool.

Stephen Kenny though, the Derry manager may have other ideas and if a deal is struck this might not be until October time

“It wouldn`t make much sense for us to sell the player midway through the season when we`re still in contention for Europe,” said McClean recently

“And no team has ever won the title the year after they were first division champions and we`re still in contention to do that so I would have thought if we`re going to sell a player it would be in October rather than July.”

The 22 year old also appears to be attracting the attention of newly relegated West Ham and it is reported that the Northern Ireland club may already have rejected an initial offer of £400,000 by the Hammers. Blackpool too may also have had a bid turned down.

There was also one scare this week with rumours floating about that Pompey gaffer, Steve Cotterill was keen to sign Martin Paterson. It would appear Burnley have rebuffed two bids from the Clarets former boss who is understood to want to bring the 24-year-old to Fratton Park for a fee of around £1.5-million.

It was also mooted that David Nugent coming the other way could form part of a deal.

Pato still has two years remaining on his contract and Howe would be loathe to lose one of his strike force indeed any of the current squad:

‘We haven`t received any bids, but I`m not surprised there`s interest in our players, said Howe this week.

“No contact has been made about those players, and we won`t be encouraging any bids either.

“We want to keep all our best players that`s for certain.

“We want to be competitive next year and fighting at the top end of the table and we`ll need our best players to do that.”

So a busy week indeed despite no new players coming in. At least though we have also ensured no key players have left the club

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