STUART Gray rounded off his caretaker stint with a draw against leaders QPR, and feels new boss Eddie Howe takes over a squad blessed with quality.
Burnley played out a goalless draw with Neil Warnock’s side at Turf Moor to leave Gray with two wins, a draw and a loss from his four games at the helm.
And after being assured of a role with the new regime, Gray is looking forward to working with Howe and his assistant Jason Tindall.
Gray said: “The new manager was here, and he’s inheriting a great bunch of lads, a good squad. There’s a good team spirit amongst them.
“He’ll have seen the other side of their game, where they’ve rolled their sleeves up and defended the goal fantastically well. But what he hasn’t seen is how creative we can be. I’ve got no worries about us scoring goals and creating chances.
“All credit to QPR, they’ve come with a gameplan and they’ve stuck to it.”
Gray was brought in by Brian Laws as first team coach, and the knowledgeable former Southampton chief will remain to assist:
He said: “I had a conversation with the chairman (on Friday) and he informed me that Eddie was coming in with Jason, and Eddie’s very keen for me to stay on board, so I’ll be having a conversation with him.
“He’ll be keen to start working with the players, and they’ll be keen to impress.
“Some lads who probably felt as though they didn’t have a future before, have got a fresh start.
“I’ll be speaking to Eddie and advising him as such. But the most important thing is that it’s put to bed now, and the new manager’s in and we can gear towards getting three points at Scunthorpe.”
Gray is popular with the players, several of whom backed him in public for the job, and he has been delighted with their effort and application.
He said: “I was asked to take caretaker charge and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. The boys have responded and have trained very well.
“One thing I’ve always said to them is that if you’re going to fail it’s not through a lack of application. It’s been spot on.
“The most important thing now is that we start winning games. We’ve got to go to Scunthorpe and win three points.”
He felt a draw was probably fair in the circumstances against QPR: “You’ve got to consider the conditions, although it’s the same for both sides.
“All credit to QPR, who did a job on us. They’ve obviously banged up against our most creative players and stopped us from playing.
“It was probably not the best game for the spectators to watch, but the rewarding thing is that we’ve not had a clean sheet for a number of games. So credit for the defending. There was some last-ditch defending at times. I thought we probably had the best periods with the ball.
“QPR get the ball forward and play to their strengths, they’re a strong, physical side.
“I’m just a little bit disappointed that in the last two games here, we’ve scored eight goals, and after about 10 minutes it looked like it was going to be 0-0.
“What we haven’t been doing is keeping the back door shut, as such, so all credit to the keeper and the back four. But you defend with 11 and you attack with 11. QPR are up there and there to be shot at, they play to their strengths, they get the ball forward early to the boy Taarabt. Once he gets on the ball he can cause you problems.
“I thought we could have done a bit more with the ball and attacking options, but you’ve got to take the conditions into consideration.”