10 games in: Players’ report

Burnley FC Burnley FC
Jamie Smith October 17, 2012
Jamie Smith
Also just to give a further indication of my reasoning ... 3 years ago

With ten games of the Championship season played, Jamie Smith assesses our start to the season.

Whoever the new manager is will have to work with the same squad Eddie Howe had, at least until the transfer window opens in January. But how have those players started the season?

Lee Grant has clearly been among our better players this season, despite the outrageously high number of goals we’ve conceded already. He’s been blameless for the majority of them and has been far more consistent than last season. But are there still worries over his ability to form a solid defensive unit with his back four? B.

Kieran Trippier was the Club’s player of the year last season and rightly so. Our most creative threat despite playing at right-back, he set countless goals up for the side with his foraging runs and deadly delivery. But this season he’s started slowly and has been outpaced by a number of wingers. Trippier has a long way to go to match last year’s form, although he is starting setting up goals again. C-.

Jason Shackell was our biggest signing in the summer, but as yet he hasn’t shown himself to be an improvement on what we had already. Made captain by Eddie Howe, the £1 million man has a lot to prove to the new manager after a sluggish and injury-affected start to the season. D.

David Edgar earned a new contract last season with some solid displays in the Championship, but this season he’s lapsed back to his old, error-strewn self. Numerous goals have come from Edgar making basic mistakes and he really has to improve to hold off the likes of Kevin Long. D-.

Ben Mee was probably unlucky not to get the nod at the start of the season, but since coming into the side for Joseph Mills, he has probably been the standout of the back line with his typical brave tackles and no-nonsense style continuing to impress fans. Not that we’ve conceded any fewer since his arrival into the side. B-.

Michael Duff is arguably the greatest Burnley servant in the squad, but when he’s played this season he just hasn’t looked up to it. This is likely to be his last season in claret and blue and in the Championship. E.

Joseph Mills was the scapegoat for a string of rotten defensive performances, although he seemed to be settling in okay to the set-up. The Reading loanee raids forward impressively and is probably worth another run in the side, with Mee shuffling across to centre-back. C.

Dean Marney polarises opinion like no other current Burnley player. Occasionally brilliant, the game passes him by all too often and playing in the midfield base role this season he has looked out of his depth more often that not. D.

Chris McCann has shown flashes of the form we saw in the promotion season but they remain flashes. Too often the match appears to be passing him by and with his contract up at the end of the season, he has a lot of work to do in the coming months. C-.

Brian Stock looked like the missing piece of the jigsaw when he was signed by Eddie Howe in the summer, but for some reason Howe wouldn’t put him in the side. He’s not stood out when he’s been given a go, but Marney’s selection as the deepest midfielder ahead of him is baffling. D.

Marvin Bartley hasn’t made the progress Burnley fans hoped for and it would be no surprise to see him return to Bournemouth in January. He’s occasionally looked Championship quality and was involved in two of Burnley’s three goals at Palace, but he’s too similar to Marney for the pair to operate in the same midfield two or even three. D.

Ross Wallace was probably our best creative attacker last season, scoring three in three games in a memorable mid-season run. But his start to the season has been slow, if we’re being nice, and far from good enough, if we’re not. Wallace is another whose deal is up at the end of the season and if he wants another one he’s going to have to do a lot better. E.

Junior Stanislas continues to split fans’ views despite a stellar start to the season. Stan still flirts with the edge of the game too much, but he’s been hugely effective and influential when he’s been given the chance to get in a match. At only 22, there’s still loads more to come from the former West Ham winger. B.

Martin Paterson wasn’t expected to play much of a role this season due to myriad injuries, but he has surprised fans by starting most league games this season. Although goals have been hard to come by, Pato’s running is endless and he remains a threat to opposition defences. But strikers are ultimately judged on goals and he hasn’t got enough. C-.

Cameron Stewart arrived on deadline day and to be frank, he’s made very little difference. Shows willingness but seems to lack confidence and quality – his performances from the bench have been reminiscent of last season’s Stanislas. E.

Charlie Austin has been the star of the show, racking up 15 goals already. As clinical a finisher as anyone operating in England today, Austin looks destined for the Premier League after two hat-tricks this season. His building days are a long way behind him now. A*.

Sam Vokes hasn’t lived up to expectations yet. As an international forward, Burnley hoped he would add another dimension to our attacking play. Used mostly from the bench, Vokes has struggled to make an impact and when he started matches at the start of the season showed little sign of developing a partnership with Austin. D-.

Even a brief analysis shows that many players are not reaching the levels expected of them. Improvements must come in the next few games if the Clarets are to climb the table and stop looking anxiously at the bottom three.

  • Kevin Robinson
    Kevin Robinson

    Vokes has been woefully under used. He has no chance of making an impact when brought on with under 5 minutes to go every match.

    • Jamie Smith
      Jamie Smithin reply to Kevin Robinson

      That was the most frustrating thing about Eddie for me. He waited until games were out of reach before making his changes. Vokes and Austin isn’t a partnership, which is a problem, but Sam needs more of a go.

  • Mike Mada

    Blimey, don’t let any prospective manager see this lot or they will never come!

    • Jamie Smith
      Jamie Smithin reply to Mike Mada

      On the contrary Mike – all these players apart from Austin can play much, much better – which is positive!

  • Emma Hardy

    Couldn’t have put it better myself

  • Daniel Bentley

    Kieran Trippier, who is tied for league assists gets a C- but Stanislas is a B? Odd.

    • Kevin Robinson
      Kevin Robinsonin reply to Daniel Bentley

      Junior has been twice the player Tripper has.

    • Jamie Smith
      Jamie Smithin reply to Daniel Bentley

      Tripps’ assists came in games where he was the source of goals against. Normally you’d let a full-back off the odd lapse, but he’s costing more goals than he’s setting up at the moment. From memory at Palace for instance, all four of their goals came down his flank, while he set up only our first goal.

    • Jamie Smith
      Jamie Smithin reply to Daniel Bentley

      Also just to give a further indication of my reasoning there: Stanislas is performing way above last season’s form and expectations, Trippier way below. In terms of early player of the season reckoning, Trippier wouldn’t be in the top five, whereas Stanislas is easily our second best outfielder at the moment.