DANNY OUT TO BE­COME SMILES BET­TER

Loss of Austin brings a gap

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Jamie Holt

CHAR­LIE Austin’s de­par­ture may have opened the door for Turf Moor’s for­got­ten man, but Danny Ings claims the mem­o­ries of the past two sea­sons are still weigh­ing heavy on his mind.

Ings was Bournemouth’s teenage sen­sa­tion be­fore join­ing his men­tor Ed­die Howe at Burn­ley in Au­gust 2011 for a fee in the re­gion of £1m.

Seven goals in 22 league starts for the Cher­ries had Pre­mier League clubs sniff­ing, but Howe had brought the best out of him dur­ing his first spell at Dean Court and Ings, at 19, didn’t fancy the big jump.

Austin had al­ready been in Lan­cashire for six months and the plan was to un­leash the two for an all-out as­sault on pro­mo­tion back to the Pre­mier League.

While Austin went on to score 45 goals in 90 ap­pear­ances for the Clarets, Ings suf­fered a car­ti­lage in­jury to his right knee dur­ing his first week at the club that ruled him out un­til Fe­bru­ary 2012.

To add in­sult to his con­sid­er­able in­jury, Ings also fell vic­tim to a sim­i­lar set­back on his left knee at the start of last sea­son – Burn­ley’s fi­nal pre-sea­son game against Rochdale. In all, the 21-year-old has amassed just 25 league starts, scor­ing seven goals, and fol­low­ing Austin’s £4m switch to QPR he claims it’s time he start­ing pay­ing back his debt.

“The club have stuck by me, they have be­lieved in me and given me all sorts of sup­port and I feel I owe them a lot for that,” said Ings, who scored in Burn­ley’s 4-0 win against York in the Cap­i­tal One Cup on Tues­day.

“Af­ter the hard luck that I have had I’ve made sure I’ve worked re­ally hard to get back to where I am now, and it’s im­por­tant that I build on this start.

“It was un­for­tu­nate the way they hap­pened, on both knees it was just the way I turned, but you have to get over it.

“You do get down for a while, you get frus­trated with what’s hap­pened, es­pe­cially the tim­ing but there’s lit­tle you can do about it.

“I was gut­ted not to get off to a good start, it was even more dis­ap­point­ing be­cause I was get­ting closer and closer at the start of last sea­son, but hope­fully this can be third time lucky for me.

“I’ve not played as a striker for the last cou­ple of years when I have played, I’ve been out on the wing, in mid­field or play­ing in the hole.

Frus­trat­ing

“It’s been a bit frus­trat­ing be­cause I’ve al­ways been a striker but there have al­ways been top play­ers at the club, like Jay Ro­driguez or Char­lie (Austin).

“Char­lie is a great striker, he’s been our top scorer for the two few years and he’s some­one who I have looked up to.

“Last sea­son he was un­stop­pable, it was quite fright­en­ing ac­tu­ally and I was gut­ted to see him go. We had a re­ally good part­ner­ship go­ing in pre­sea­son. I’m dis­ap­pointed we didn’t get to spend more time play­ing to­gether.”

Ings com­mit­ment to the Burn­ley cause was put to the test be­fore a ball had been kicked in anger this sea­son when Howe, now back at Bournemouth, came in with a bid to take him back to the south coast.

That of­fer, around the same price Burn­ley forked out for his ser­vices, was given short shrift by boss Sean Dy­che who, in turn, has given Ings the re­spon­si­bil­ity of fill­ing the void left by Austin.

“Ed­die is a top man­ager, and I also feel like I owe him a lot but at the time I didn’t get too in­volved in it (the of­fer), I just kept my head down and let my agents deal with it,” he added.

“My in­juries hap­pened when he was man­ager here, so I didn’t get to play a lot un­der him, but I’m not look­ing to move clubs, I’m just con­cen­trat­ing on get­ting back to en­joy­ing my­self.

“Last sea­son I fin­ished strongly, and I’ve started this sea­son in the same way, and to be fair Sean (Dy­che) has just told me to en­joy my­self be­cause he knows I can get frus­trated.

“I just want to have a smile on my face when I’m play­ing again, at the mo­ment I am happy and ev­ery­thing is go­ing well.

“I’m not go­ing to set my­self any tar­gets, I’m still at the stage where I’m tak­ing it week by week, but any­thing is pos­si­ble in football.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

TONGUE LASH­ING: Danny Ings gets on the score sheet last sea­son

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