CLARETS boss Eddie Howe has spoken of his frustration at the delay in bringing loan signings into the club.
The emergency loan window opened last Thursday, but so far all avenues have been closed as he looks to add to his squad.
A deal to bring defender Ryan Shoton in from Stoke City - which appeared on the cards before the close of the transfer window - now appears dead in the water.
And contingency plans for West Brom’s Craig Dawson have also hit a brick wall, with the 21-year-old set for his Premier League bow this weekend.
Bolton striker Tom Eaves is another option,. but he is still recovering from a knee injury suffered in pre-season, while a move for Manchester United’s 18-year-old midfielder Paul Pogba looks unlikely.
Howe was at Altrincham on Monday night to see the young Frenchman in action for United’s reserves against Fulham, but Sir Alex Ferguson intends to blood him in next week’s Carling Cup clash at Leeds.
If Pogba could be lured to Turf Moor, it would be something of a coup, but Howe admits he would like more experience to help his young squad along.
He said yesterday: “I think in an ideal world you’d have an older head whether it be across your backline or in midfield.
“That experience comes with a price and the window’s closed so we’re looking at loans now and they’re incredibly difficult to get.
“The majority of people available are 17, 18, 19-year-olds and you’ve just got to be careful before adding any more youth to the squad.
“But Premier League clubs are reluctant to lose players who are figuring on the fringe of their squad and you can understand why.
“I’m not going to bring someone in on loan and not play them because that defeats the object, and also any clubs loaning out players want them to go out and play.
“I’m not going to do that to fill my squad.
“Really you’re only going to bring a loan player in if they’re going to come into your starting 11.”
However, while there have been no further developments this week as regards loan players - with none expected before the trip to Peterborough - Howe was boosted by the positive impact of new signings Junior Stanislas and Zavon Hines as substitutes in the 2-0 defeat against Middlesbrough, as well as Marvin Bartley, back from a three-match suspension.
He admits the trio have given him food for thought: “I thought they all did well and will certainly come into the reckoning.
“We’ll have to see what shape we go with and what the personnel is.
“I think there’s not just those three but others as well pushing for a start.”
Boro boss Tony Mowbray hailed the captures of Stanislas and Hines after his side’s win at Turf Moor - saying: I look at Burnley as an example.
“They’ve brought some young boys in from West Ham that aren’t kicking and stomping that they want to play every week, they’re young boys looking for an opportunity and a chance to impress.”
And Howe agreed: “We have a very ambitious squad now.
“It’s a younger squad but a hungry squad.
“All the lads are desperate to play and to play for Burnley and impress and show everyone what they’re capable of, which is great from my point of view when you’ve got people chomping at the bit to put the shirt on.
“I’m happy with the squad. I think we’re full of talent and energy. We’re just a little bit light on numbers.”
That may be the case, but the squad has shown, particularly in the win at Derby, what they are capable of, and Howe hopes that version if his Burnley side shows up at London Road: “We’re still very disappointed with the Middlesbrough performance, as we were after the game. We hope it’s a one-off and won’t see that side of us again.
“We’ve reviewed everything and the way we prepared and of course we’re going to try to make sure that a different Burnley turns up this weekend.
“The lads were hurt from Saturday and I think they know we didn’t perform so they’re very keen to get the game started. In an ideal world we’d have had a game straight away because I think you always want to after a performance like that. We’re very keen to get the game going and go again.”
A first clean sheet in 19 games would help: “It’s a case of everyone doing their bit to not concede goals.
“We’re certainly aware that we need to do better defensively.”