Second chance for Burnley FC fringe players
BRIAN Laws is in the early stages of formulating a squad to try and bounce back to the Premier League.
And striker Steven Fletcher feels the Clarets boss will find his hand boosted by the return of three players who ended the season out on loan.
Three of Owen Coyle’s summer signings - Brian Easton, David Edgar and Richard Eckersley - will be back in the fold, and, with the squad trimmed by the release of Stephen Jordan, Steven Caldwell, Joey Gudjonsson, Christian Kalvenes and Nicky Weaver, there will be more chances for players who were not regular starters in the Premier League.
Easton, a £350,000 signing from Hamilton Academical, returned to the Accies in January, Edgar, who cost a tribunal-set £300,000 from Newcastle, went to Swansea on loan in March, and £500,000-valued Eckersley, who moved from Manchester United, went out to Plymouth the same month.
The three made 10 appearances between them for Burnley - with Edgar making six, including being named in Laws’ first team to face United at Old Trafford.
Former Hibs forward Fletcher has faced Easton on a number of occasions in the Scottish Premier League, and having trained and played alongside the trio, he feels they will make important contributions next season: “I’m good mates with Easty, I played against him quite a few times up the road and I know he’s a good player.
“David and Richard as well, and hopefully dropping into the Championship they’ll get a good crack at it.
“A few people have seen David play for Newcastle, Easty’s a good defender and gets forward well as well.”
It is a point also made by chairman Barry Kilby, who will be looking for a return on a £1m-plus outlay: “We have people out on loan like David Edgar, Richard Eckersley and Brian Easton.
“It’s their chance to come in and fill those places.”
Coyle spent around £6,150,000 on new signings last summer, before his departure for Bolton, citing the lack of finances as one of the reasons why he jumped ship,
And he insisted right up to his leaving that “you don’t spend £350,000 on ready-made Premier League players.”
But he signed Easton, Edgar and Eckersley as players for the future, and Burnley fans will hope that his legacy helps the Clarets return to the top flight.
Coyle said last week: “It was a family atmosphere at Burnley and it was a real wrench to leave people we have such fondness for.
“But myself and the staff left for football reasons.
“I had wanted as much funding as possible to maintain that Premier League status. We spent just short of £6million in the summer and a million of that was spent on young players not ready for the Premier League.
“We worked as hard we could as staff to get to the Premier League, but accepted the club could go no further in terms of finance.
“People think I don’t mean what I said about how hard it was to leave – but it is true.”