BURNLEY manager Eddie Howe could face a severe striker shortage for Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup first round tie at Port Vale.
Already without Martin Paterson, who has been called up to the Northern Ireland squad for their friendly with Finland, at Windsor Park on Wednesday, Howe is also anticipating Sam Vokes will be selected for Wales by Chris Coleman today for their game against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Llanelli.
But more concerning in the knee injury suffered by Danny Ings in Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss at Rochdale in the final warm-up game of pre-season.
The 20-year-old was forced off at Spotland, after some robust challenges, and, after a scan on Wednesday, has been referred to a specialist for further assessment.
The good news, on the face of it, it that Ings hasn’t damaged the same knee that forced him out of the first half of last season, following his arrival from Bournemouth.
However, the problem is still a major headache for Howe, who is already light in midfield as he looks to bring more bodies into that area.
Howe said: “My big concern is Danny Ings because we don’t know how he is. That will be my big worry.
“I don’t know how or what he’s done, we don’t know if it’s a twist or what. We’ll find out.
“But it’s certainly a worry because he’s been excellent so far. He’s sore in his knee.
“I don’t think it was a particularly dirty game, it’s just both teams were competitive.
“I don’t think there was anything malicious behind the injury, it’s just one of those things.
“We’re still hoping it’s not too serious, but he is in some discomfort.”
Howe is also without left back Daniel Lafferty, who is away with Northern Ireland, and Keith Treacy, on duty with the Republic of Ireland after being called up to face Serbia.
He is not considering calling the cup tie with Vale off however, despite being entitled to due to the number of international call-ups: “We’re going to be four light at Port Vale.
“I’m sure we’ll be okay in raising a team, but it’s not ideal.”
Ings’ injury could force Howe into the market for another forward, on top of the pressing need for midfield reinforcements.
Sources in Doncaster continue to suggest a deal for Brian Stock is close, but Howe said: “There’s no news to give you.
“The need is pressing from our side because we are light in certain areas.
“If Danny’s injured that’s going to be a concern for us in terms of things we can do during a game and setting the team out.
“We’re hopeful to do something but we’ll wait and see.”