Burnley target Reading striker Church

TARGET: Simon Church
TARGET: Simon Church

BURNLEY are believed to have made an enquiry for Reading forward Simon Church.

The 24-year-old is currently back at the Madejski Stadium following a spell on loan at Huddersfield Town, which ended just before the new year.

He scored twice in the reserves against QPR on Tuesday, but with the Royals eager to bring Manchester United and England striker Danny Welbeck in on loan, the Wales international is well down the pecking order, with Millwall also interested in a £250,000 deal.

Church will be out of contract in the summer, and has made only one appearance for the Royals this season, in the Capital One Cup, despite scoring seven goals in 30 games as Reading were promoted as Championship winners last term.

The Amersham-born forward has 30 goals in 170 career appearances, and is capable of playing out wide, as well as through the middle.

He has 19 Wales caps since making his debut in 2009.

Church, famously, was a surprise selection in the play-off semi-final second leg against Burnley in 2009, making his full Reading debut as the Royals were unable to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit at the Madejski Stadium.

The Clarets won the second leg 2-0 with stunning strikes from Martin Paterson and Steven Thompson, before winning promotion to the Premier League by beating Sheffield United at Wembley.

Paterson’s representative, meanwhile, was also due at Turf Moor yesterday for contract talks - as well as discussing Chris McCann’s future.

The pair began initial talks in August, however, there has since been a change of manager, and they are among nine players whose deals run out in the summer.

The club are believed to have also held talks with Lee Grant, Dean Marney and Kevin Long.

Ross Wallace, Michael Duff, Brian Jensen and Jon Stewart are also out of contract at the end of the season.

Midfielder Brian Stock feels winger Dane Richards is a welcome addition to the Burnley squad.

Richards agreed a move from MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps earlier this season, and officially completed the switch once the transfer window opened.

Once receiving international clearance, he was available for the first time for the FA Cup clash at Barnsley on Saturday, and he caught the eye in a second half cameo, once introduced for Ross Wallace.

Richards, who turns 30 on Monday, won two corners with his first two contributions, making full use of his lightning pace.

The Jamaican international, who played alongside Thierry Henry and Rafael Marquez in a five-year stint with New York Red Bulls, will now look for his first taste of Championship action tomorrow as the Clarets entertain Crystal Palace.

Stock, who is suspended for tomorrow’s game after his dismissal at Oakwell, said: “He’s very quick, so obviously we want to try to get him on the ball and run at defenders.

“No matter what level or what standard you play at, if you’ve got pace it’s a definite asset and a threat to the opposition.

“So he’s going to be a valuable asset to the squad, and I thought he did really well at Barnsley when he came on.”

Richards linked up with the squad ahead of the New Year before he was eligible to play, and Stock feels he is adjusting to a new country and culture well: “He’s quite quiet and goes about his business in the right way.

“He’s settled in really well with the lads and he’s a nice guy.

“I think he’s a great addition to the squad.”

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