I’LL REACH TOP– GRAY

£9m man tar­gets Premier League

The Football League Paper - - FRONT PAGE - By Matt Bad­cock

AN­DRE GRAY wants to fol­low in the foot­steps of Danny Ings and ful­fil his Premier League dream with Burn­ley.

The 24-year-old striker has made a £9m move to Turf Moor from Cham­pi­onship ri­vals Brent­ford. Gray, who joined the Bees from Lu­ton only last sum­mer, had be­come one of the Football League’s hottest prop­er­ties af­ter scor­ing 18 goals in his first sea­son at Cham­pi­onship level.

Hull City had three bids re­jected be­fore the for­mer Eng­land C star him­self turned down a move to Bristol City.

Gray told The Football League Pa­per last night a chat with for­mer Brent­ford boss Mark War­bur­ton con­firmed join­ing Sean Dy­che’s Burn­ley was the right move for his de­vel­op­ment.

And he is us­ing the ex­am­ple of Ings, who joined Premier League giants Liver­pool in July, and another ex-Claret Jay Ro­driguez, now at Southamp­ton, as in­spi­ra­tion to push his ca­reer into the big time.

“I had a good con­ver­sa­tion with my ex-man­ager Mark War­bur­ton and I think Burn­ley is the best place for my de­vel­op­ment,” he told The FLP.

“I’ve still got a lot to learn. It’s not a case of go­ing there and stop­ping, I want to progress and I want get even bet­ter. It’s a case of go­ing there and learn­ing even more.

“And af­ter Burn­ley’s track record with strik­ers – Danny Ings and Jay Ro­driguez, those kind of play­ers – that’s the path I want to go down.

“I want to do what they’ve done and play in the Premier League – and I want to play for Eng­land.This club is the per­fect place for me to go and do that.

Thanks

“The Premier League is the goal and hope­fully I can be there next sea­son with Burn­ley.”

Gray says he is in­debted to Brent­ford for sign­ing him from Lu­ton af­ter he caught their eye with 30 goals that helped the Hat­ters win the Con­fer­ence ti­tle in 2013-14.

“Brent­ford gave me a mas­sive chance and I want to thank them,” he added.“Mark War­bur­ton and David Weir got me in there, put un­be­liev­able belief in me and kept faith in me even when I was go­ing through a bar­ren scor­ing spell.

“It’s be­cause of them I’ve now got the chance to move to a club like Burn­ley.”

Last week, Burn­ley man­ager Sean Dy­che had told The Football League Pa­per that trans­fer fees and wages in the Cham­pion-ship had be­come ‘in­cred­i­ble’.

Af­ter splash­ing out a club record £9m to sign Gray on a three-year con­tract, it seems the Clarets boss has de­cided that if you can’t beat them, you might as well join them.

Per­haps the fact Burn­ley had only net­ted three goals in their open­ing four matches of the sea­son ahead of yesterday’s Cham­pi­onship clash against, iron­i­cally, Brent­ford, per­suaded ex-Wat­ford boss Dy­che that it was nec­es­sary to swoop for Gray.

The sign­ing con­tin­ues a me­te­oric rise for the 24-year-old Wolver­hamp­ton-born striker. Af­ter play­ing for Shrews­bury and Hinck­ley United, it was at Lu­ton that Gray came to promi­nence.

The speedy striker net­ted 30 goals in 2013-14 and was a key fig­ure as Lu­ton won the Con­fer­ence. Last sum­mer, he stepped up three lev­els to the Cham­pi­onship with Brent­ford, but con­tin­ued to score. He struck 18 times as MarkWar­bur­ton’s Bees made the play-offs.

This term, Gray has al­ready net­ted two in two games – against Ip­swich and Bristol City.

Hunger

Hull were re­ported to have had three bids re­jected, while the striker him­self turned down a move to Bristol City be­fore de­cid­ing Turf Moor was to be his new home.

Dy­che said: “There is a raw­ness, a hunger and a great de­sire from him to con­tinue his ed­u­ca­tion and go even fur­ther, and we in­tend that to be with us.”

AM­BI­TIOUS: An­dre Gray

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

PRO­LIFIC: An­dre Gray in his Brent­ford days

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