Both players fit into the sort of age bracket that Howe has targeted since becoming Burnley manager, with former Manchester City midfielder Clayton now 23 and Ward 22.
Leeds' boss Neil Warnock has made Clayton available and confirmed that he's looking to bring in a player for around £400,000. That's the sort of fee he expects to get for Clayton and Warnock believes his replacement will be better.
Clayton has been with Leeds for two seasons now having signed from Manchester City. He spent virtually the whole of the first season out on loan but established himself in the Leeds team in the 2011/12 season making 45 league appearances and scoring six goals.
Ward is set to be the next player to leave the mess at Fratton Park but Burnley will have a real fight on their hands for his signature with Crystal Palace, Ipswich and Leeds all keen to sign him. Chief Exec Trevor Birch admitted there could be some news in the next few days.
Burnley have already missed out on one target from Portsmouth. Howe was keen to bring in former Bournemouth centre-half Jason Pearce but he opted for Elland Road. Ward is another player he knows well after he too spent some time at Bournemouth on loan during the 2008/09 season.
Ward was pushed into the first team early at Portsmouth due to the lack of players and he's now gone on to make almost 100 appearances for them to add to the 25 games he played at Bournemouth.
The Clarets are keen to get transfer business done somewhat earlier this year and would want to avoid the mess of 2012 when players we were forced to recruit players in the final weeks of the transfer window.