Season Preview 2012/13: Burnley
LAST SEASON was one of upheaval for Burnley, who under the control of Eddie Howe for the first time, finished just 13th in the division, their second season since relegation from the top-flight.
Eddie Howe's policy was clear, ditch the older players who had failed to deliver promotion the previous season and bring in fresh, younger faces from the lower leagues.
Despite flashes of potential being shown - including a late show to claw back a point from 2-0 down to Watford at home on the first day of the season - Burnley were largely uninspiring in their mid-table finish. This season a better finish will be expected of Howe without question.Strengths:
Business has been done early; the Clarets have been quick to add new faces to improve the squad and with Jay Rodriguez heading to Southampton for a whopping £7.5m, they have the added bonus of money in the bank.
Weakness': Howe's side look weak in midfield. Whilst the first choice four of Keith Treacy, Dean Marney, Chris McCann and Ross Wallace are strong, after that there's a real lack of depth. Marvin Bartley has never been a regular, nor has Junior Stanislas. George Porter and Cameron Howieson are both youngsters.Best business so far:
Swapping £7.5m man Rodriguez for the much cheaper Sam Vokes. Whilst England U21 cap Rodriguez did enjoy a good 2011-12, scoring 15 in the league, an overall career record of 36 in 122 is only marginally better than Vokes' 29 in 143.
Former Wolves striker Vokes is a similar style of player and should thrive with regular first-team football.Star man:
New captain and centre-half Jason Shackell is an excellent, proven Championship performer.
Formerly of Norwich, Wolves, Barnsley and Derby County, the 28 year-old has immediately been instilled as captain after signing in a deal worth £1m to the Clarets. Powerful and strong in the air, Shackell will be a mainstay at the heart of the Lancashire outfit's defence.In:
Luke O'Neill (Mansfield Town) undisc, George Porter (Leyton Orient) undisc, Jason Shackell (Derby County) £1m, Joseph Mills (Reading) loan, & Sam Vokes (Wolves) undisc.Out:
Alex Rae-Harvey, Dominic Knowles, Dave Lynch, Ross Wilson, Andre Amougou, Clarke Carlisle, Brian Easton , Zavon Hines (all released) & Jay Rodriguez (Southampton) £7.5mPrediction:
Top-half. Overall squad depth is not there at the moment and with a lot of younger players and rough diamonds in the squad it's easy to (perhaps foolishly) write Burnley off as top-half to mid-table material.chrisgwfc:
Really topsy turvey team and difficult to predict. Bringing Shackell in will help their poor defensive record but letting 15 league goal Jay Rodriguez go will not help the ratio at the other end.