Date:Sunday April 2 2006
Steve Cotterill made no changes to the team that started against Saints and decided to maintain a 4-4-2 formation with Gray and Ricketts upfront.
The starting line-up was:
B Jensen, P Bardsley, M Duff, F Sinclair, J Harley, A Mahon, J O'Connor, C McCann, G Branch, A Gray, M Ricketts.
Both Hyde and McGreal appear to have been fit enough to sit on the bench after their injuries but did not feature in the match. They were joined on the bench by Spicer, Lafferty and Elliott
The match as far as the Clarets were concerned was very much an end of season display as they doggedly held on for a point in a goalless affair.
Despite what the manager says about finishing as high as possible, the players know in their heart of hearts that they are safe and dont really have much to play for with their minds probably thinking about their close season holidays and next season.
Clarets fans looking for action in this match would have come away disappointed although on balance would probably have been happy with the point.
The Owls had most to gain from this match, hoping to put some distance between themselves and the bottom three and move away from the relegation scrap. Their fans were probably angry therefore that another two points were dropped as they saw a number of woeful poor shots on goal from their players.
If I was asked to select a Man of the Match for the Clarets, I would give this to Frank Sinclair who was solid in defence. He even came very close to scoring a goal putting his header wide from a corner during an exciting three minute spell in the second half when Gary also had an header cleared off the line and McCann headed wide.
That three minute spell was about it with no other incidents worth talking about. By his own standards, even controversial referee, Graham Laws had a quiet game and seemed to let a fairly boring game flow into obscurity! Nobody could argue with the two bookings during the game. Chris McCann for a foul on Tudgay after 21 minutes and Simek in a quite nasty foul on Bardsley after 33 minutes.
Spicer made a late entrance for Ricketts after 82 minutes in what proved our only change to the team. For the life of me though, I don't understand why in these games Kyle Lafferty is not being played more and given vital experience for the new season ahead. He should be starting and partnering Gray in my opinion in a more attacking 4:4:2. Ricketts after showing early promise scoring in each of his first two games, now seems resigned to playing out the last few games and returning back to Leeds without busting a gut. The passion seems to be lacking and I sense Kyle, having the most to prove,would provide a shed load of passion if given the chance.
So thats it then, only five more games to go this season. I would be happy if somehow we could at least finish 13th or above so we can say we have consolidated over last season. Last season however we finished 13th with 60 points and a goal difference of -1. Our points tally so far is 48 with a goal difference of -8.
We would have to win four of the last five matches to finish with the same number of points. A tall order indeed.
Season over chaps, lets look forward to 2006/7. We can but hope that the rumours floating around about more money than expected being made available for Steve to rebuild the squad in the close season come true.
Every new season I say the same thing, 'its our turn'. Something tells me this time I might be right. Boy do we deserve it!
Date:Sunday April 2 2006
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