BURNLEY boss Eddie Howe has insisted that there’s life after Jay Rodriguez.
The Clarets lost their prized leading goalscorer last month following the 22-year-old’s switch to Premier League newcomers Southampton, but Howe is confident the club has the necessary firepower to find success in the Championship.
Charlie Austin, who opened his account at Turf Moor against Watford on the opening day of last season, has proved prolific at every level he has played.
The hitman scored 37 goals in all competitions for Swindon Town during a 17-month spell at the County Ground before scoring 17 for the Clarets last term despite an injury lay-off.
Former Bournemouth man Danny Ings also recovered from a lengthy spell on the sidelines and made his mark last season, scoring his first goal for the club in the 5-1 thumping of Portsmouth at Fratton Park in March.
Meanwhile, Martin Paterson is eager to bounce back from a campaign hindered by injury.
“It was a good move for Jay to get a Premier League football club and a club where I think he has a good chance of playing,” said Howe.
“For us, it was very much a case of we needed the money.
“It certainly goes a long way to balancing the books, and now we need to balance the squad and get players in to make it more competitive.”
Howe added: “We have three what I consider first-team strikers who, when they are fit and firing, are as good as anything.
“Charlie had a very good season last year, and we would like to think he can improve on that.
“Danny had an injury-hit season but when he came in he showed exactly what he’s capable of.
“And we all know what Pato is capable of, and we are hoping for a big season from him as well.”
But Howe also intends to bolster his attacking options to supplement that trio.
It’s no secret he’s an admirer of Wolves marksman Sam Vokes, who spent time on loan with the Clarets last season, scoring twice in nine outings, though Bristol City forward Brett Pitman, a former team-mate of Howe from his Bournemouth days, and Norwich City’s Chris Martin are also in the fray.
Howe said: “I think I would want four and I want to try to bring someone who will complement the other three.
“And I am confident we can do that.”
The transfer window has developed into another waiting game for Howe, a task where patience is a virtue, as he prepares to add to the signing of right-back Luke O’Neill, snapped up for £80,000 from Mansfield Town.
The Clarets are believed to have had two bids turned down for Derby defender Jason Shackell after Howe reignited his interest in the centre-back, after the Rams seemingly had a change of heart over their skipper’s future.
And Leeds midfielder Adam Clayton remains a target, though his former boss Simon Grayson is hoping to add him to his ranks at Huddersfield.
Bournemouth midfield Marc Pugh, who started his career with the Clarets, is another name that has resurfaced.
The 25-year-old is in the final year of his contract at Dean Court, and has expressed a desire to move to a Championship club.
It is also understood that Howe will be taking Australian A-League goalkeeper of the year Mat Ryan on trial at the end of the week.
With Lee Grant the only senior keeper under contract for the forthcoming campaign, with deals yet to be tied up with Brian Jensen and Jon Stewart, Howe is set to run the rule over the Central Coast Mariners stopper who was called into the Australian national squad for the first time in February.
Howe admitted: “We have found it to be quite difficult this summer to get the players we are chasing, for a variety of reasons. The market has been very slow, and good players are coveted by many clubs, not just ourselves, so we are finding it a challenge to get the players we want.
“I think it’s worth pursuing our top targets and that’s what we are continuing to do.
“We know who we want and let’s see if we can get a couple over the line.
“It’s a very competitive league. You have clubs quite evenly matched all fighting for the same players, which breeds competition and prices rise.”