Burnley turn to Gazza to recreate the Wright stuff

Kieran Daley
Sunday 17 March 2002 01:00

Burnley confirmed yesterday that they have signed Paul Gascoigne from Everton for the rest of the season. Stan Ternent, the Clarets manager, has moved quickly to secure the services of the 34-year-old who was disappointed by Everton's decision to sack their manager Walter Smith in midweek and replace him with David Moyes, from Preston.

The former England international played under Smith at Rangers as well as Everton and sees the Scot – who has supported him through some of his more turbulent times – as a mentor and friend.

Gascoigne has signed too late to play in the Clarets' First Division game against fellow play-off contenders Preston today and so looks set to make his debut against Bradford City on Wednesday.

Barry Kilby, the Burnley chairman, said Gascoigne's loyalty to Smith had blocked Burnley's initial approach for the player two weeks ago. "We were making enquiries for him but he was very loyal to Walter Smith. However, when [Walter] left Everton there was a chink of light for us. The deal is to the end of the season, then we'll sit down and discuss the future."

Kilby is hopeful the signing of Gascoigne will capture the imagination of the Burnley public as the signing of Ian Wright, the former Arsenal and England striker, did two years ago. "It will be like Ian Wright with extra people coming in to see someone of Paul's quality playing for Burnley," Kilby said.

Wright's signing proved fruitful for Burnley both on and off the pitch as he scored vital goals towards the end of the season to help the Clarets into the First Division and the arrival of such a high-profile player also significantly raised attendances at Turf Moor.

Preston, meanwhile, said they will not be rushed into appointing a successor to Moyes. Their chairman Derek Shaw and chief executive, Tony Scholes, have a list of potential new managers but will not name any names until they have made a thorough assessment of every candidate. "A few names of people looking for work have already come into the club, but we've got to make sure we make the right appointment," Shaw said. "When we are ready, we will appoint. We won't be rushed into it."

Moyes' former assistant, Kelham O'Hanlon, and Jimmy Lumsden, the first-team coach, are in temporary charge for today's match in which victory would take Preston to the fringes of the play-off zone. "The players, Kelham and Jimmy know how to get the best performances – so we will appoint when we've thought it through and when we feel ready," Shaw said.

Sean Gregan, Preston's captain, returns to the squad after serving a suspension. Midfielder Mark Rankine played for the reserves in the week and could also be back in action following a foot injury. However, Colin Hendry, the former Scotland defender who is on loan from Bolton, remains doubtful because of a calf strain.

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