CLARETS defender Kieran Trippier believes new skipper Jason Shackell will give the side the experience and leadership they were lacking last season.
Burnley finished 13th in the Championship last season, and the England Under-21 cap feels the addition of his former Barnsley team-mate is a pivotal one.
Howe put together a vibrant young side over the season, but wanted to blend that with some Championship knowhow, and he has installed Shackell as new club captain, taking over the armband from Chris McCann.
And Trippier said: “I played with Shacks at Barnsley for a year and he’s a very good player. That’s why they brought him here.
“He gives us more experience at the back and helps us a lot.
“That’s what I thought we lacked last season.
“He always talks in training and gives 100%. You can see he’s a leader.
“He’s got loads of experience. He’s 28 now and has played at a few clubs, like Duffo (Michael Duff) he’s been around for a while. We’ve got loads of experience there now.
“Duffo’s a good leader, Chris McCann’s a good leader as well, but we’ve got more experience there now, and a lot of talent, which will help us a lot.”
Howe explained the thinking behind his decision: “Jason is a leader. We’ve seen that in training, and in the game at Altrincham on Saturday he was a very, very good talker on the football pitch and off the pitch.
“I think he’s got everyone’s respect and he will lead the team.
“It’s no criticism of Chris at all. Chris is a fantastic player and a wonderful person as well. He’s a leader in his own right, but I just feel that it’s taken a bit of pressure off him and enables him to concentrate on his own game and being the player that we know he is.
“With Shacks I felt it was the right thing to do.”
Howe accepted he perhaps didn’t get the best out of McCann last term after handing him the captaincy: “I think Chris is an absolute top player. I don’t think we played him in his best position at times last year. He does like to get forward, he is an attacking threat as we saw on Saturday with a lovely goal, and we just want Chris to concentrate on playing. “It was a big responsibility that I gave him last year at such a young age, and after being out injured for two years.
“Perhaps looking at my decision perhaps it wasn’t the right one. I take responsibility for that, not Chris.
“We just want to see Chris back to his very best, and I’m sure this year he will be.”
Howe was pleased with the 4-1 win at Altrincham in Burnley’s first friendly outing, and he wants more of the same at Bury tonight: “We’re looking for a step up in everything really in terms of performance and fitness levels.
“It will be a harder game; Bury are a very good side.
“We’re looking forward to the games because the lads have done a lot of work in the two weeks, we’ve crammed a lot in, and the lads have been excellent so far.”
Brian Jensen missed Saturday with a slight shoulder problem, but Howe said: “Brian just had a slight shoulder complaint last week so we just decided to err on the side of caution with him, but he’s fine.”
Marvin Bartley could be out for three or four weeks with an ankle injury, and David Edgar is easing into things after his packed summer with Canada: “He had only had a week (in training) and the other lads had had a couple of weeks so we just decided to hold him back.”
Meanwhile, Burnley will go to a tribunal with Leyton Orient after failing to agree a fee for winger George Porter, although Howe admitted: “We’re not miles apart.”
Porter, Shackell, Luke O’Neill and Joseph Mills made their first appearances after joining the club on Saturday, and Howe said: “I was pleased with all the new lads. It was a big day for George (Porter), he’s still very young and just out of the non-league scene himself really.
“He’s just had a couple of years at Leyton Orient. I was pleased with him.”
Keith Treacy celebrated a Republic of Ireland call-up with an assist at Altrincham, and Howe hopes to see more of the same: “I think Keith showed what he can do with the fourth goal, it was a wonderful cross. It’s what we want to see more of from Keith – he’s a hell of a talent when he’s on it.”
Treacy has been selected for Giovanni Trapattoni’s 22-man squad for the friendly against Serbia in Belgrade on August 15th, ruling him out of Burnley’s Capital One Cup tie at Port Vale.