Eddie Howe looking to bolster Burnley FC front line

NEW Clarets boss Eddie Howe admits he could look to bolster his striking options.

Friday, 21st January 2011, 5:00 am

But he has had no contact with either Everton or Swindon Town over forwards James Vaughan or Charlie Austin respectively.

Howe takes charge of his first game at Scunthorpe United tomorrow evening, in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

And, having taken training all week and seen some of his squad put through their paces in a 4-2 behind-closed-doors friendly win over Preston on Tuesday, he has had chance to evaluate the players at his disposal.

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Already he is being linked with moves for Vaughan and Austin, although rumours of a £1.2m offer for Austin appear premature.

Austin, 21, who has netted 37 goals in 63 games since a move from Poole, has reportedly put in a transfer request at the County Ground.

Howe, then under a transfer embargo at Bournemouth, was eager to take Austin to Dean Court when he was at the Cherries’ non-league neighbours.

But, asked about potential new faces yesterday, he said: “There are some good players here, I expected there to be quality, and training has been quality.

“I’m pleased with the squad, but I think there are improvements we can make to it, areas where we can improve the players that we’ve got.”

Asked if a striker was on the agenda, he answered: “Possibly. We’ve got to make sure the areas to identify to strengthen are the right areas, and then you have to identify the right players, and then it’s a case of trying to bring them in, but I don’t think that will be something that is done in the next couple of days.

“We have to make sure we get it right.”

At his unveiling on Monday, he stated his desire to keep his squad together, saying: “We want to keep everybody here, all our good players you want to keep and make our squad even stronger.

“To be successful you’ve got to keep your best players.”

That includes keeper Brian Jensen, transfer-listed at his own request after losing his place in his side under Brian Laws,.

Howe added yesterday: “Everyone has a clean slate, everyone looks ready to play, which is important – except the injured lads, Martin Paterson and Chris McCann.

“It’s a chance for them to impress us and hopefully be a part of the future. I’ve had a chance to speak to a couple of the players, but you make most of your assessments by what you see in training, and during games, and I’m sure we’ll be sitting down with everybody at some stage to have a chat.

“It’s too early to say. I’ll have to sit down with Brian and see what he’s thinking, and see what he’s feeling and see what happens from there.”

Burnley fans get to see their first glimpse of Howe’s Burnley at Glanford Park tomorrow, and they are eager to see what system and style of play he prefers.

He said: “I wouldn’t say I’m rigid in formation. I don’t have a preference as such, it all depends on the game.

“Bournemouth played 4-4-2 an awful lot, we also tweaked it away from home, so I’m open, I’m flexible.

“My philosophy is that I like to play attractive football, but every game is different and you have to adjust to that, so I’m pretty flexible in all areas really.”

His Bournemouth side were only out-scored by Peterborough in League 1 so far this season, and he comes to a side with goals from every area – with 15 players already on target.

He said: “That’s good. I’ve come from a club where we were free-scoring this year and hopefully we can continue that here.

“To have 15 different scorers is a good statistic, and hopefully that will continue.

“But every successful team starts with a strong base and a strong defensive unit. That’s something we’ll be looking to improve if we can.

“First and foremost if you get that right we’ve got half a chance, so we’ll be looking to do that.”

Paterson and McCann are the only absentees at Scunthorpe, and Howe will not rush the pair: “Martin’s not even training fully yet so he’s still got a lot to do.

“We want to make sure that when he does come back he stays fit – that’s the most important thing. He’s had a nasty injury and had a couple of comebacks aborted, so this time we need to make sure he’s right before he’s playing.

“Chris’s been out a long time as well with a really nasty injury. We’ll be really pleased to get him back in the fold and he’s coming along really well.

“Hopefully in the next month or so he’ll be stepping up his training.”