CLARETS boss Eddie Howe made Reading left-back Joseph Mills his fourth summer signing on Tuesday.
And he isn’t finished yet with his transfer dealings.
Howe intends to add more new faces to his squad ahead of the Championship opener at home to Bolton, with a midfielder in particular a necessity.
Marvin Bartley is currently out of action with an ankle problem, ahead of tomorrow’s opening first-team friendly at Altrincham.
Doncaster’s Brian Stock is a target, but Howe is biding his time with the former Bournemouth midfielder, saying: “I’m reasonably happy, as we’ve made a good start to our rebuilding, although there are still a couple of areas we’d like to strengthen.
“But we’re ticking them off as we go.
“As always we’ve got to be careful financially, that we don’t overstretch ourselves, so it’s a case of doing the deals we can, and moving on to try and get the next one.”
He is happy with his defensive unit after the additions of Jason Shackell, Luke O’Neill and Mills, however.
He said: “Jason Shackell was a key transfer for us, for numerous reasons – we can see the effect he’s had in training already, how impressive he looks, and his leadership skills have already come to the fore, so we’re really pleased with him.
“Joseph gives us nice balance in our defence now, so we’re really pleased with how we look in that area, we have cover and are really strong in every position, with real competition for places.
“We’ve signed Joseph with a view to a permanent move, that’s how we like to use the loan market.
“He fits our profile as the type of player we like to recruit in terms of his athletic profile and his age and attitude, so hopefully he’ll be another good signing for us.
“He played a lot of games early in the season for Reading, and got better with every game, and was unfortunate to get an injury, so he found himself out of the team.
“But I watched him quite a lot and thought he did very well.
“I’ve known him quite a while from watching him with Southampton Reserves when I was down there, and he’s always impressed me.”
But he would like another midfielder and a forward.
Howe said: “We have a slight concern over Marvin Bartley, who’s had a problem with his ankle for a while and has been to see a couple of specialists and told to rest for a few weeks.
“He’ll be out for a period, hopefully not too long. It’s nothing serious.
“It’s an area we know we needed to add numbers to, and that leaves us with just Dean Marney and Chris McCann as recognised first-team midfielders.
“We need to look at that area.”
He has been linked with a fresh move for Wolves striker Sam Vokes, who spent time on loan at Turf Moor last season.
Howe admitted: “Sam’s someone we like, he did well for us last season, so we’ll wait and see, but we are a little bit short in that area.
“It’s a position we’re looking to add numbers to.”
Howe’s players get their first taste of match action tomorrow at Altrincham, after the midweek friendly at Accrington was cancelled due to remedial work on the pitch at the Crown Ground after the recent bad weather.
Howe said: “We weren’t overly concerned with the Accrington game being called off as we only planned to use our first-team players for about 20 minutes.
“But we have been in training for what seems a long time now, and the lads are itching for a game, to play for real.
“I’ve been delighted with the lads’ attitude to the work we’ve done so far.
“Training has been quite tactically-based so far, we’ve put a lot of work into the players.
“It’s important to put our plans in place, it’s important they know what we want from them.
“I want to be flexible and I want the lads to know what systems we’re going to use.
“It’s important to get that information into them now.”