Eddie Howe looks to make changes to Burnley FC team

LOOKING FOR ACTION: Andre Bikey, seen playing against Leeds in December
LOOKING FOR ACTION: Andre Bikey, seen playing against Leeds in December
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CLARETS boss Eddie Howe has nine ever-presents from his 13 games at the helm.

But he has hinted at changes for tomorrow’s trip to Bristol City, after a disappointing week at home.

David Edgar

David Edgar

A run of six Championship games without defeat put Burnley right in the middle of the promotion chase.

But just one point from six from games with Millwall and Coventry City at Turf Moor have put a dampener on things.

Howe is eager to look at the wider picture, with his side three points from the play-off places with a game in hand still.

But he admits he is mulling tinkering with his plans to face the Robins at Ashton Gate.

The entire back five – keeper Lee Grant, Tyrone Mears, Clarke Carlisle, Michael Duff and Danny Fox – have started every match in all competitions since Howe’s arrival, along with Jack Cork, Dean Marney, Jay Rodriguez and Chris Eagles.

And while injuries and loans mean he essentially has 19 senior professionals to select from, he was expecting the players who have been struggling for a start of late to beat a path to his door.

Six of those 19 have yet to be named in the starting XI under Howe – Brian Jensen, Graham Alexander, Andre Bikey, David Edgar, Marvin Bartley and Brian Easton.

Howe said: “There are people waiting in the wings, for sure, and the lads know they have to perform, and we haven’t really done that in the last two games.

“There will be things I have to look at, people pushing for games, and starts, and that’s the nature of football when you don’t win.

“We’ll have to look at it, see how people train and then pick a team for the Bristol City game.

“I thought I would be loyal to the players who have done so well, a case of trying to give them the opportunity to put Saturday right.

“But, unfortunately, it didn’t quite get the response we wanted, so we’ll see what our options are.

“I don’t think they’ll need picking up, they’re a resilient bunch with really good experience behind them.

“I think they know themselves that they can perform better, but we’re a collective – we win, lose and draw together, and we’ll do the same again.”

With 10 games remaining, results are what matter at the moment, and Howe senses a tricky test at Bristol City.

He remains upbeat about Burnley’s play-off chances.

He said: “There’s a feeling of disappointment, but you have to look at the bigger picture, we are still in a good position.

“People can be very quick to be negative, but we have to reflect on the positives and the remaining games we’ve got.

“We’re still in there fighting. We’ve made it a little more difficult for ourselves, but we’re in a good position.”

Howe has four wins in six away games in the league, but after the stutter at home, isn’t relieved to be on the road again.

He said: “There is that feeling at home, especially these last two games, the expectation to win and win comfortably, and sometimes that can bring it’s own problems.

“But it’s something we’ll have to deal with, it’s what the public expect and it’s up to us to find the answers.

“You’d always prefer to be at home, and it will be a difficult game at Bristol, but these are games, with time running out, that we need to get results in.

“They’ve done well of late and are a decent side with good energy, and we’ll have to make sure we’re firing on all cylinders again.”

Howe has until the loan window closes next week to boost his squad for the run-in, and he is keeping tabs on things: “We’re not imminently close but we are keeping an eye on a couple of players.

“We’ll wait and see how things develop.”