Unwanted rebuilding job for Howe on eve of season

Eddie Howe
Eddie Howe

CLARETS boss Eddie Howe faces a rebuilding job less than two weeks before the start of the season.

Howe is hoping to bring two new faces early this week, but is expecting Chris Eagles and Tyrone Mears to complete their move to Bolton Wanderers for a combined fee, believed to be just over £3m.

But the two names Howe hopes to land are not believed to be Arsenal midfielder Kyle Bartley, nor Newcastle United right-back Ryan Taylor.

The two names have been doing the rounds over the weekend, but I understand there is nothing in either link.

Nor will it be Arsenal forward Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, who was yesterday expected to join Ipswich Town for a fee in excess of £1m.

Burnley were in the hunt for the 20-year-old, who has spent time on loan at Blackpool, Doncaster Rovers and Cardiff City over the past two seasons, but the Londoner preferred to stay in the south of England.

Meanwhile, Mears and Eagles were due for talks with Bolton yesterday, having been given permission to speak with Wanderers after the Burnley board agreed a joint fee.

The pair, who spent last week in the south west with Burnley, sat in the stand during Saturday’s 3-1 win over Torquay United, and remained with the squad before travelling back to the north west yesterday.

Owen Coyle said: “I think Burnley have made public that the offer has been accepted.

“They are both very good players who I know well from my time there.

“But they are not signed yet. We still have some negotiating to do. I’m in negotiations with a number of players but until they are signed and sealed we won’t go making a song and dance about it.”

Howe will be given some of the money to spend on new players, with the Clarets the only club in the Championship yet to make a permanent signing.

Only Ben Mee, on loan from Manchester City for the season, has come in, with Clarke Carlisle, Graham Alexander and Chris Iwelumo departing, on top of the release of Steven Thompson and Kevin McDonald.

Another target Jack Cork has joined Southampton after spending the last season-and-a-half on loan at Turf Moor from Chelsea.

Howe said: “We’re going to have to build again, and we have to build quite quickly.

“We’ve only got two weeks and that will fly by.

“Whoever we bring in we’re going to have to try to integrate very quickly into the team and how we play and get to know the lads better.

“Although we’re in a race against time, you still want to get the right player.

“You don’t want to panic and bring someone in who isn’t to our style.”

Howe understands the decision to allow Mears and Eagles to leave, with the pair in the last year of their contracts and able to leave on free transfers next summer.

He said: “I think the difficulty was that they only had a year on their contract left, and they would have both walked out for nothing next summer.

“So I think from the club’s point of view, £3m for the pair of them is money the club can use.

“I think I’ll get to use part of it.

“I don’t know if I’ll get to use all of it but we’ll definitely be in the market for players now.

“It possibly affects what we were looking at.

“I think when you lose a right-back, and especially someone as versatile as Chris who will play anywhere, it does change slightly.

“Not necessarily position-wise, but maybe the type of player that we’re after.

“You have to react to the situation, which we will.

“I can’t affect the timing of things, so we just have to react to what’s happened.

“But if they say it’s not right for them, they’ll come back to us.

“If the lads do go, from our point of view it’s sad.”