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Burnley v. Bolton Wanderers previewed through Claret-colored glasses

Laurence Griffiths

Football is back, folks. Bolton Wanderers are all set to kick off against Burnley at Turf Moor for the second straight year. The anticipation has just about reached fever pitch and we wanted to see what the opposition was thinking. We spoke to Jamie Smith of No Nay Never, an excellent Burnley FC website to see how Clarets fans were feeling ahead of the quickly-approaching clash.

An upbeat mood among fans was destroyed on Thursday as star striker Charlie Austin departed to join up with QPR. Austin being sold was inevitable and most supporters had already come to terms with it, but for it to come just two days ahead of the new season was a blow.

Pre-season has been good for the Clarets, with a run of solid wins and decent performances, albeit against some pretty unimpressive opposition. Danny Ings has been in sharp form with five goals in five games and it will be he who Sean Dyche relies on - at least initially - to fill Austin's boots.

Ings hasn't exactly been a goalscorer in his two years at Turf Moor so far - he's scored just six goals - but he's been excellent in the friendlies and this is the first pre-season he's got through without injury, which should be a boost. And he's only 21 - Burnley turned down £1 million from Bournemouth earlier this season and he is very highly rated.

How the Clarets perform this season is likely to heavily depend on who is brought in to replace Austin. While the other arrivals - particularly Tom Heaton and David Jones - mostly look like shrewd moves, Burnley's strikeforce looks pretty thin with only Sam Vokes and new boy Ryan Noble providing support for Ings.

But Jones looks, to me, like one of the signings of the summer in the Championship. He'll have had plenty of options so I'm delighted he'll be turning out for us and his partnership in midfield with Dean Marney has looked good in pre-season.

Unfortunately, the sale of Austin - effectively forced on the club as he was entering the last year of his contract - means it is likely to be another 'season of transition', yep, that old chestnut, for Burnley.

The Clarets will be hopeful of repeating last year's 2-0 win on the opening day over Wanderers, but with the side having played most of the friendlies with Austin and Ings up front together, the team will have to adapt to a new system and strikeforce, which is hardly ideal.

Should Dyche manage to bring in a good quality Championship forward to replace Austin - I like the sound of Billy Sharp - then the Clarets can aim for the top half. Otherwise, it could be a long old season.