MARTIN Paterson and Junior Stanislas face scans today to reveal the full extent of their hamstring injuries.
But with the pair expected to be out for up to six weeks, with another two weeks until the transfer window closes, Clarets boss Eddie Howe will look to bring new faces in.
And with inevitable speculation linking Jay Rodriguez with a big-money move away, Howe is desperate to keep his squad together.
Sam Vokes’ loan also expired after the 2-0 win at Middlesbrough on Saturday, so Howe has essentially lost three players – although he has spoken to Mick McCarthy and remains hopeful of the Wales international striker’s return.
Howe said yesterday: “Junior and Pato will have a scan on Tuesday, and we think they’re going to be six weeks.
“To have two hamstrings in a game is very strange – Junior was going at full pelt and Pato just starting to sprint – and it’s really difficult for us.
“In terms of our squad, we were looking really strong, I was having tough decisions to make, which is what I’ve wanted all season, and that leaves us thin on the ground again.
“The injuries are a massive downside for us, and it could force our hand to look into the transfer market because it’s a bitter blow.
“Pato’s worked so hard to get fit, and then we lose him again, which is heart breaking, and Junior was getting better and better and we beginning to see his true potential.
“With Pato’s attitude and how much he loves playing football, he’ll be incredibly frustrated that he can’t. The positive is he’s come back and looked like he’s never been away.
“His workrate was excellent and he was a constant pest, we just have to make sure we get him right again.”
Vokes netted twice in his two months with the club, but only three of his nine appearances were starts, and Howe said; “I’ve had a conversation with Mick so we’ll see how that develops. Mick’s a lovely guy, and he’s been brilliant with us, allowing the loan in the first place, but I think there’s more conversations to be had.
“Sam’s at a big stage in his career, so we’ll wait and see.
“He enjoyed it here, he was a little bit frustrated by his lack of football in the last few weeks, but he settled in really well with the players.
“He knew a few before he came, but he settle in brilliantly, so I think there’d be a willingness from Sam to come back, but there’s a lot to consider, and I think there are a couple of other clubs also interested.”
The loss of Paterson, Stanislas and Vokes means loan moves out for players on the fringe of the matchday squad are off for the moment – with Alex MacDonald and Zavon Hines potential candidates, and Howe added: “We were looking at getting a couple out to get some game time, but we’ll have to hold that back and see what happens.
“Zavon will now be chomping at the bit to try to get back in the squad, and he’s been excellent in training.
“I’m sure he’ll be frustrated because he wants to play, like everyone does, but I’m sure he’ll get his opportunity in the coming weeks.”
Keith Treacy has also struggled to make the bench of late, but Stanislas’ loss could be his gain.
He said: “Keith is fit, he’s had to fight for his place, he’s got a lot to do, and he may well now get an opportunity, and it’s up to him to take it, it’s a long season and we’re going to need everyone in the squad to come in and play their part.”
Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew was at The Riverside on Saturday, believed to be looking at goalscorer Rodriguez, as well as Boro left-back Joe Bennett, but Howe has yet to receive any offers for his players.
He said: “We’ve already lost, in a sense, two players with injuries, so we’re desperate – although finances obviously dictate – if we can to keep everybody together for as long as we can.”
Meanwhile, fresh speculation linking Burnley with Doncaster’s former Bournemouth midfielder Brian Stock was knocked down by Howe, who said: “Brian’s someone I know, but I think he’s doing well for Doncaster so I don’t think anything will happen with that.”