Where would Burnley be this season without Andre Gray and his goals??? The striker has been superb leading the line for the Clarets with his explosive style, work rate and unerring ability to take chances early. A striker shooting on site is a dying art in the modern game and Gray is a huge advocate of this trait.
The money paid for him now seems a snip – he covers every blade of grass and some fans are lauding him as a better player than the man he replaced, Danny Ings, and I have to agree. When Gray is in front of goal I am far more confident of him finding the net than when Ings was in the same position.
The former Brentford forward is going to be the main man if we are to get promoted; defenders know they have been in a game when they go toe-to-toe with Burnley’s number seven.
The option of who to play with him is somewhat of a conundrum though. You could look at a change of system, but you feel that even with a gun to his head, Sean Dyche would not falter on a 4-4-2 formation. So the question is, who is best suited to partner the Championship’s leading goalscorer?
Somewhat of any unknown quantity to many Clarets fans, if Dyche wants to partner pace with pace then the former Everton man is a viable option. He had a glorious chance to snatch a winner against Brighton on Sunday which, confidence wise, could have sent him on a bit of a run in the side.
A compliment that can be paid to Long is that he always looks likely to make something happen. I expect him to be used as an impact substitute for the majority of this season; not yet 21 until February, he has lots of potential.
What Dyche wouldn’t give for this man up front taking some of the hits off Gray. I personally love Barnes’ style; his rough and ready approach is sprinkled with dazzling goals. How can you not love someone who made Jose Mourinho self-implode before it was fashionable?
I believe when he is fit he will add some serious firepower to the Burnley front line. Yes, that could be as far off as February, but I think he still has a part to play.
Like Barnes, the Welshman has had his injury problems and I believe only now are Burnley fans seeing him anywhere near the player who had such a fruitful partnership with Danny Ings.
He seems to have shifted the excess weight he was carrying, as it looked in the most as if Burnley had a small house wearing the number 9 shirt.
A perfect foil for Gray in your classic little and large striking tandem, and currently ahead of all the others in the pecking order, there is more to come from the big man.
Burnley threw a few million quid on this guy and on YouTube he looks the real deal. He has stuck it out longer than the summer’s other foreign import, Jelle Vossen, so gains a few brownie points there. I think the club need to figure out what kind of player he is because he currently looks a little lost when he is out on the pitch.
The Clarets don’t have the best track record with overseas players, so I would air on the side of caution with the German. At 28 he should be at the peak of his powers – 17 goals for Karlsruher SC last season shows some pedigree.
This young fella has been smashing the goals in for the reserve and youth teams at Burnley since he signed from AFC Wimbledon in the summer, with the Clarets beating off a host of clubs, including West Ham and Crystal Palace, for the promoting 18-year-old’s signature. There is no smoke without fire, and whilst I wouldn’t throw him straight into the first-team, some cameos from the bench could reap dividends.