Burnley would need to resolve wage issues for Wickham
BURNLEY would have to resolve wage issues with Sunderland if they are to make a loan move for striker Connor Wickham.
The Clarets have been boosted by news that Danny Ings could be back in action within three months but are still considering whether to move into the market to temporarily bolster their strike force, with the loan window opening at the weekend.
Bristol City forward Brett Pitman has been a target for Eddie Howe this summer and could now be made available on loan, while Burnley are also understood to be contemplating the possibility of a move for Wickham.
Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill is keen to loan out Wickham, who has fallen down the pecking order since former manager Steve Bruce signed him from Ipswich Town for £8.1m last summer.
The highly-rated 19-year-old has been offered to a host of Championship clubs in recent weeks, with Blackburn Rovers briefly interested before deciding to pursue other options – snapping up Jordan Rhodes from Huddersfield on a permanent deal.
Ipswich have the first option to take Wickham back to Portman Road on loan if they wished, but boss Paul Jewell said at the start of August that the Suffolk side could not afford to do so because Sunderland wanted them to pay three-quarters of the 6ft 3in forward’s wages – reported to be around £25,000 a week.
Such a figure would also seem likely to be beyond Burnley’s reach and, although it is understood that Sunderland are now willing to negotiate that percentage, it remains to be seen whether the Clarets will opt to pursue a deal.
Other Championship clubs are said to remain interested, after the possibility of a loan move to a Premier League club fell through before the closure of the transfer window, and Wickham’s destination could yet depend on which club is able to cover the largest chunk of the England under 21 international’s wages.
The powerfully built Wickham was linked with a host of clubs last summer before joining Sunderland, having impressed with Ipswich – where he scored 13 goals in 65 games, 33 of which were starts.
The Clarets are assessing whether to bring in another forward with only Charlie Austin and Sam Vokes currently free of injury worries.
But they may ideally prefer a more agile forward rather than a more traditional target man, which could also count against Wickham.
Martin Paterson returned from a hamstring injury in the second half of Saturday’s defeat to Brighton but Burnley know they need to protect him from further problems and the 25-year-old has withdrawn from Northern Ireland’s squad to face Russia tomorrow.
Ings, who missed much of last season because of injury, was recently ruled out for three to six months with a knee problem but the Clarets have received more encouraging news after the forward had surgery on Tuesday to repair cartilage damage.
“It’s the best outcome we could have had,” Howe said.
“I am sure he will start his re-hab pretty quickly now and within three months he could be back in action.
“The tear was not as bad as we feared and the surgeon was able to do what he needed to.
“It wasn’t that intrusive, which reduces the timescale.
“I think it’s good news for everybody, not just Danny but for ourselves as well.
“He was looking so good in pre-season that losing him was a big blow, but now we can look forward to getting him back quicker than we hoped.”
* The Accrington Clarets have finalised their coach arrangements for Burnley’s next three away matches.
They will depart Nelson bus station at 1.30pm for the trip to Leicester on Wednesday, September 19, picking up at The Lounge opposite Turf Moor at 1.45pm and in Accrington at 2pm. Seats cost £17 for adults and £15 for under 16s.
For the visit to Derby on Saturday, September 22 seats cost £16 and £14 with pick-up from Nelson at 8.30am, The Lounge at 8.45am and Accrington at 9am.
The coach leaves Nelson at noon, The Lounge at 12.15pm and Accrington at 12.30pm for the Capital One Cup third round tie at Swindon on Tuesday, September 25.
Seats cost £25 and £23.
To book contact The Stanley on 01254 301605.