The Pull of Hull?-by TMP
The last time the Clarets played Hull away was in Feb 1996 and things have certainly changed since then. Hull now of course have a brand new spanking stadium and although both teams have nothing really to play for other than pride, for the Clarets fans maybe the pull of seeing the lads play in a new stadium for the first time might outweigh the fact its Easter holidays! Lets hope for both a good turnout and a good match with at least some entertainment value for the fans!
Hull City are 19th in the table on 48 points, 3 points behind 15th placed Clarets. The Clarets are now mathematically safe from the drop and Hull are effectively so being 11 points ahead of third from bottom club Crewe with four games and maximum twelve points left
On paper this should be a closely fought match with the Clarets now undefeated in four matches and Hull having won their last three home games. The Clarets away form could be much better with only 2 draws in the last 6 matches. You have to go back to November for our last away win in that thrilling 2-3 win against Luton with Ade's hat-trick and Spicer's cameo in goal!
Our form has improved a lot recently though and we are due an away win so lets hope for another three points as we attempt as high a finish as possible to Season 2005/6.
Peter Taylor's side is likely to be the same that lost away to Sheffield United last week although they do also have a number of players who are still ruled out due to injury, notably former England International, Nick Barmby.
The Clarets yet again will have a full squad to choose from with the exception of long term injured players, Coyne and Thomas.
Kyle Lafferty did not even make the bench at the QPR match last Saturday and we were spoilt for choice in defence and midfield with both Hyde and McGreal featuring in the match after coming on from the bench.
Steve Cotterill did say he was experimenting with ideas although he appears to have played the same starting eleven in the last few matches! It will be interesting to see the starting line up for this match and whether we start 4-4-2 with Ricketts and Gray up front or 4-5-1 which we reverted too in the QPR match after Ricketts was substituted! I do worry about Kyle Lafferty, I hope he still features in Steve Cotterill's plans for next season.It is worrying we dont seem to be taking the opportunity to play him in these 'nothing to play for' end of season games. Ricketts had a decent game against QPR but unless we are thinking of signing him on a permanent basis we will soon be saying goodbye to him as he returns to Leeds! I personally think we should have Ricketts on the bench and give Kyle Lafferty more experience in competitive games at this level. Oh well, time to get off that particular soapbox
So four matches to go till the end of Season 2005/6 with a maximum of 12 points to get. It would be nice to finish higher than last season and on 63 points, 3 more than 2004/5! Lets get the first of those 3 points on Saturday and make the dubious pull of Hull worth it!
By the way, Happy Easter to one and all from all at Vital Burnley FC, even the Hull mob!