Burnley: Nathan Collins can become useful source of goals in survival bid
Burnley are embroiled in a massive relegation dogfight with a number of Premier League sides and they need an edge to keep them up this season.
The Clarets have found a renewed sense of spirit since they surprisingly sacked Sean Dyche earlier this month with a 2-0 victory at home to Southampton bringing them to within one point of Everton on the brink of safety.
Goals have been a major concern for Burnley though with Chris Wood sold to Newcastle United in the summer and Wout Weghorst not hitting the ground as quickly as many were hoping.
There is however a young star who is slowly becoming a threat in the opposition area although he isn’t a natural striker by any stretch of the imagination.
That is 20-year-old defender Nathan Collins who has slotted alongside James Tarkowski at the back seamlessly as Ben Mee takes a backward role as part of the club’s temporary management team.
Signed from Stoke in 2021, Collins had to be patient to get his chance at Turf Moor but he is now taking his opportunity with both hands.
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First and foremost, he is a typical centre-half in how he attacks at corners and that saw him head the Clarets into a 2-0 lead against the Saints.
It was a huge leap from the Irishman to be well above the defenders to be virtually unchallenged in the air.
It’s something we’ve come accustomed to seeing from Burnley defenders with Tarkowski and Mee over the past few years and there appears to be another in the making.
It’s not just with his head where he is potent in front of goal though as he showed in the Clarets’ dramatic 3-2 win at home to Everton.
The 20-year-old peeled away to the back post and found the ball nestling onto his right foot so he placed an exquisite volley into the far corner to kick off the chaotic evening.
He’s proven already then that he is one to watch in front of goal and that could be the difference between staying up or playing Championship football next season.
In other Burnley news, Dwight McNeil could be the key to their survival hopes.