Howe still plotting to land Shotton

BURNLEY have not given up hope of landing Stoke defender Ryan Shotton on loan.

The emergency loan window opened yesterday, following the summer transfer deadline last Wednesday.

Clarets boss Eddie Howe had hoped to bring in the strapping 22-year-old in before last week’s window shut, but with Stoke looking to seal their deadline day deals for Wilson Palacios, Peter Crouch and Cameron Jerome first, time ran out.

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On Friday, it looked like any chances of snapping up the youngster had disappeared when he was named in both Stoke’s 25-man Premier League squad, and their Europa League squad. And earlier this week, Potters chief Tony Pulis appeared to rule out a loan move when he said: “Hopefully he’ll get some games in the Carling Cup, then we’ll see how much football time he gets when we review him at Christmas.”

However, discussions are set to take place today with a view to bringing in the versatile Shotton, who could initially sign for a 93-day period, before returning to the Britannia Stadium.

Howe was keeping tight-lipped about the subject of loan signings yesterday morning.

Asked if he was close to bringing anyone in, he said: “It’s a work in progress.”

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When pressed if there was a chance before tomorrow’s game at home to Middlesbrough, he added: “Wait and see.”

He has often spoken of his preference for permanent signings, but needs must: “We were chasing a couple of other players last week but it didn’t happen. That’s the nature of football. I’ve said before we want to bring the right ones in. We’re aware we have a very small squad and the loan window is always an option for us.

“I think it’s the least preferred option because you want to build a nucleus of players that are going to be together for a period of time and you can really build them into the team and the club.

“With loans that’s slightly more difficult but with the likes of Kieren (Trippier) and Ben (Mee) they’re on a season-long loan and I don’t really see that being too much of a problem.”

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Whether Shotton is added to the squad or not, Howe is looking forward to seeing his new signings continue to gel, with Junior Stanislas in line for his debut after joining from West Ham last Wednesday: “I’m excited to see the new players involved. We’re building a good squad and I think we can only get better as the season progresses.

“The signs are positive. The signs were positive against Derby, especially going forward I thought we looked a real threat again – especially going forward. We looked like we’ve got goals in us and for any side if you know you’re capable of scoring goals it gives you huge confidence.”

There has been criticism in some quarters about the pruning of the squad, in particular the shedding of experienced players, but Howe countered: “We’ve certainly brought down the average age. The Beast is sort of keeping us going against that.

“We’re pleased with the squad we’ve put together but I still think there’s more to come.

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“There’s more scope to get better and to improve and that will take a bit of time but I think we’re going in the right direction and I think the players have shown a fantastic attitude to their work and there are positive signs for us.”

Asked if he would like more experience in the team to help the younger players, he explained: “The trouble is to bring in experience to play at the level, perform at the level and be successful at the level is going to cost you a lot of money and we’re not in that position.

“That’s the problem that we have, and that’s probably why we’ve been forced a little bit to go young across the board.

“I don’t think that’s the ideal way to go, I think you do want one or two more experienced people in there, but they cost you an awful lot of money and we’re not in that boat.

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“You have to remember that we do have one or two experienced players who are injured who will come back in Duffo and Pato – both players who have played in the Premier League.

“You add them to the squad and we look a lot stronger.”