THREE men remain in contention to partner Danny Ings in Burnley’s opening game of the season, but Lukas Jutkiewicz hopes to force himself to the front of the queue with another goalscoring display tomorrow.
Jutkiewicz, Ashley Barnes and Marvin Sordell each scored twice in Burnley’s 8-0 victory over FC Grossklein in their first pre-season friendly on Sunday and the trio are all set to be involved again when the Clarets travel to Accrington Stanley tomorrow at 3pm.
Ings did not get on the scoresheet in Austria but seems certain to start when the Clarets kick off their Premier League campaign at home to Chelsea on August 18, after netting 26 times last season.
Sam Vokes scored 21 goals alongside him during Burnley’s promotion campaign but the Welshman is still some way off a return from a cruciate knee ligament injury.
That leaves new boy Jutkiewicz and Sordell battling for the one available spot along with Barnes, who partnered Ings in the final weeks of the 2013/14 season.
It is an intriguing race, and one Jutkiewicz believes that competition only be good for the Clarets.
“I think that’s what the manager wants, different types of players for different scenarios that occur on the pitch,” said the 25-year-old, a summer arrival from Middlesbrough.
“Looking around the squad I think you see a lot of hunger in all the players, the desire in everyone to get better as individuals and as part of a team.
“Being in the team for the first game is everyone’s goal really. Everyone wants to give the manager a selection problem by working as hard as they can to get better every day, and try to impress him.”
Jutkiewicz was happy to bag a brace on his Burnley debut, after netting seven times in 20 games during a successful loan spell at Bolton Wanderers in the second half of last season.
“It’s always nice to get a couple of goals early on in pre-season, it’s more of a fitness exercise but I feel like it’s been easy to settle in,” he said.
“It’s been great so far. I met up with the lads in Austria, it was nice to have a few days to get to know anyone and I’m pleased to have got started. Ideally my plan is to hit the ground running and try to get off to a fast start.
“Pre-season is a part of that. It’s important to get yourself into the right physical state for the start of the season. We want a good team performance against Accrington, so the players gel with each other.
“It’s also a fitness exercise but you want to do the right things well and hopefully come out with a positive result.”
Burnley’s East Lancashire rivals Blackburn Rovers drew 2-2 at Accrington in a friendly on Wednesday night, and Stanley boss James Beattie hopes his side can produce another impressive display.
“The lads did great against Blackburn, I was really pleased with them,” Beattie said.
“Blackburn brought a strong side for the first 70 minutes and the lads were up for it.
“The main thing was they seemed like they were enjoying it, pitting their wits against quality opposition.
“That’s what I say to them every week before they go out, to make sure they enjoy it.
“For me that was as pleasing as some of the stuff we played, because we played some great stuff.
“Going forward I asked the lads to express themselves and I think we’re organised and quite difficult to break down.
“There are things to work on of course, everyone wants to improve and that’s what we’ll be looking to do, that will never change.
“We’ll check on the lads to see how they are and how they’re looking before the Burnley game.
“With the size of the squad we’ve got it needs to be monitored very carefully in training and then obviously in terms of game time at the weekend.”
Brett Ormerod played for Stanley at the Store First Stadium for the first time in 17 years on Wednesday when he featured as a substitute against Blackburn.
The 37-year-old is training with the Reds and Beattie hopes a deal can be agreed, although he admits he is currently finding it difficult to find room in his budget.
“I’ve been honest with Brett, at the moment I’m struggling to find something but I definitely want to try to do something with him if possible,” said the boss.
“He loves his football and obviously he’s got a great affinity with this club, so if we can sort something out that will be great.
“I’ve got to try to look after the club and Brett’s interests as well.
“As a player I’ve got to try to give him something that’s worthwhile for him and his family.”