The Burnley summer transfer window has not been an inspiring one for Clarets' fans. The season is about to start and two key parts of last year's successful promotion push – player of the year Joey Barton and the experienced Michael Duff – have left, with no major stars coming in to fill their gaps.
Liverpool loanee Jon Flanagan could add some useful Premier League experience to Sean Dyche's back-line. But there must be doubts about the ability of Icelander Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Nick Pope to make an impact in the top flight after they were unable to avoid the drop to League One with Charlton – although the Iceland international winger did end the campaign with an impressive record of 12 assists and six goals.
The Clarets secured an immediate return to the Premier League after clinching the Championship title with a game to spare last season, finishing as joint top scorers and conceding fewer than anyone except second-placed Middlesbrough. Despite that – and the retention of the likes of Tom Heaton, Andre Gray or Michael Keane – they will surely need something else to survive.
FA Cup: fourth round
League Cup: first round
Top scorer: Andre Gray (23)
Manager - Sean Dyche
The 45-year-old played as a centre-back for a host of clubs – Bristol City, Luton Town, Millwall, Watford and Northampton Town – during a 17-year playing career that began with a professional debut for Chesterfield in 1990. He returned to Vicarage Road to go into coaching until, in 2011, he got the chance to replace Malky Mackay as first-team boss. Only a season later he took over from Eddie Howe at Burnley and has not looked backed since, securing two promotions to the Premier League despite working on a restricted budget.
Key player – Andre Gray
Burnley broke their club transfer record last summer to sign Andre Gray from Brentford in a deal worth around £9m ($11.67m) and the 25-year-old quickly proved why. The Englishman scored 23 goals and provided eight assists in 42 Championship games to lead his side back to the top flight while filling the huge gap left by the departure of Ings.
Gray continuing that prolific form in the Premier League will be the key to Burnley's fate.
Burnley were promoted to the Premier League in 2009 and 2014 only to be relegated the following season both times. The arrivals of George Boyd, Lukas Jutkiewicz, Keane, Michael Kightly, Marvin Sordell and Stephen Ward for around £9m in the summer of 2014 couldn't close the gulf in class and the current deathly quiet transfer window means few are expecting things to be different this time.
IBT prediction – 19th
Not even the presence of Ings, so impressive in attack he was snapped up by Liverpool, was enough to keep them up last time. Gray and co will show the tenacity expected of any Dyche side, but it is unlikely to be enough to beat the odds.