Date:Monday March 23 2009
The Clarets will be looking forward to a well-earned rest during the International Break, hoping to come back refreshed by the time they play Derby County at Pride Park in their next game on April 4th. This has come at a very good time for the Clarets who will have been buoyed by their victory on Saturday away to Plymouth and their move up the table to 5th. They will now be on a high and can enjoy a bit of a break.
Hopefully when they return refreshed they can plough on with confidence high and secure one of the play-offs spots come May 3rd, the date of our final League match of the 2008/9 season against Bristol City at Turf Moor.
A few of our lads though will be on International duty, so unlike their colleagues will not potentially get the luxury of a rest. With a small squad such as ours, now effectively down to 20 players with six players now out on loan and one with a long-term cruciate ligament injury (i.e. loan, Russell Anderson), these International games although a good reward for the players are always a nervy time for the gaffer and Owen Coyle will be keen to ensure they all come back without any injuries or knocks that could affect our promotion chances.
One player who now won`t feature though is Martin Paterson. He had been selected for the Northern Ireland squad. Nigel Worthington`s men face Poland and Slovenia in Belfast in the World Cup qualifiers but Paterson has had to pull out over the weekend. Pato had been suffering from a tight hamstring last week and missed training. He however was fit enough to make the starting eleven against Plymouth at Home Park on Saturday but appears to have aggravated the problem.
This in some ways is probably a relief in the eyes of a number of Clarets fans providing the injury is not too serious and he will be available for selection against Derby. Paterson has looked jaded, lacklustre and off the pace in recent games. He has not scored in 10 games now and looks frustrated. A two week break could be just the tonic he needs, so let`s hope he comes back fit and fully rested when we restart our promotion campaign on the 4th April at Pride Park.
Just as an aside, Nigel Worthington will also have been disappointed by the news that former Claret, Kyle Lafferty has also had to pull out. Lafferty was suspended for the Poland game but will now also miss the game against Slovenia. Lafferty was stretchered off with an ankle injury after scoring for Rangers against Hearts on Saturday.
So which current Clarets will be on International duty? The answer is three of our players, Graham Alexander, Kevin McDonald and on-loan defender, Rhys Williams.
Graham Alexander is in the Scotland squad for their World Cup qualifiers away to the Netherlands on March 28 and at home to Iceland on 1st April.
Rhys Williams has been named in the Wales squad for their World Cup qualifiers at home to Finland and Germany, on 28th March and 1st April respectively.
Kevin McDonald has also made the Scottish U21 squad for their UEFA European U21 Championship Qualifying Matches against Albania on 28th March and Wednesday, 1st April.
Good luck lads and if you get the chance to play, please avoid any injuries at all cost!
Date:Monday March 23 2009
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