Eddie Howe is ready to start work

CLARETS boss Eddie Howe is eager to get to work on his summer recruitment drive.

By Chris Boden
Friday, 20th May 2011, 6:00 am

But he is having to bide his time with the transfer merry-go-round yet to crank into gear.

With the Premier League season coming to an end on Sunday, and the play-offs yet to be resolved, a number of clubs remain uncertain as to where they will ply their trade next season.

And Howe expects things to start falling into place in the coming days and weeks.

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While securing midfield duo Chris McCann and Jack Cork are top of his agenda, Howe is also looking at strengthening other areas of his squad.

Fit-again strikers Charlie Austin and Martin Paterson will be like two new signings when the players report back for duty on Thursday, June 30th.

But Howe is keen to further build on that, and bring in most of his targets before the new Championship campaign kicks-off on August 6th – well ahead of the close of the transfer window.

Howe said: “I would like to start moving straight away.

“We are actively looking for players and working hard behind the scenes.

“But these things will be done at their pace.

“I’m keen to get the squad together as early as I can though.

“I like to have my squad in place for the majority of the season to go on and build, but sometimes it’s taken out of your hands.

“I’d expect there to be some movement at this stage but it’s difficult to say how much.

“I’m keen to bring in some players where we need to.

“I’m sure it will unfold in the next few weeks.”

Howe is expecting interest in some of his players, and admits that will have a bearing on his plans.

McCann is thought to be interesting former boss Owen Coyle at Bolton, despite claims to the contrary, and Operational director Brendan Flood met McCann’s representative on Tuesday to discuss terms, with Burnley keen to tie up a new contract as soon as possible.

I understand talks were positive, but remain ongoing.

Meanwhile, Cork, now back at Chelsea, is a priority purchase, but the fee the Premier League giants demand – having seen Scott Sinclair prove something of a bargain for £500,000 at Swansea – could prove prohibitive, while rivals clubs in the top flight and Championship could be able to offer a more attractive package.

And with key players Tyrone Mears, Chris Eagles and Andre Bikey entering the last year of their contracts, there could be decisions as to whether to cash in now, should there be any firm interest, or risk the trio leaving for nothing next summer.

Howe added: “It’s sometimes difficult because you don’t know what’s going to happen with some of our players, but that’s the nature of football.

“We have to be quick to react if anything happens with our players.

“You have to have targets identified.”

He would prefer permanent signings, rather than loan deals, unless the deals are season-long, and he continues to monitor Everton centre back Shane Duffy, who spent a month with the club towards the end of the season.

Howe said: “We had a good look at him when he came in.

“But we haven’t had that conversation with Everton yet.

“But loan signings are usually very late just because the clubs want to have their players around them during the pre-season.”