Hoping for a Killing of Killies in Kilmarnock
Burnley`s pre-season preparation has taken a bit of a dent recently with two very lacklustre performances against lower league opposition. We struggled against League 2 Accrington Stanley at the Crown Ground last week just 36 hours after getting off a transatlantic flight following our US Tour. We just about saved our blushes by scoring twice in the last seven minutes of the match to earn a draw after being 2-0 down and had plenty of excuses mentioning the word jetlag whenever we could.
That was Tuesday night though, surely by the time we played Leeds United at Turf Moor on the Saturday, we would be fully recovered? Well, put it this way, it did not look like it and we put in yet another tired, lacklustre performance with the defence looking dodgy in particular. This was our only pre-season game at Turf Moor too and we went down 2-1 to our League 1 rivals from t`other side of Pennines.
So now we have to shake ourselves down and start all over again as the Clarets embark on their Scottish Tour for two more friendlies. First we play SPL side, Kilmarnock on Thursday night this week (August 6th, 7; 30pm KO) and then complete our pre-season schedule against Owen Coyle`s former club, and newly promoted SPL side, St Johnstone on Saturday 8th August (Kick-Off NOW 2pm)
Kilmarnock will be a good test for the Clarets and they will be hoping for a return to winning ways. An impressive performance in this match and against St Johnstone will restore confidence ahead of our greatest challenge in many a season when the Clarets will kick-off life in the Premier League on August 15th. Owen Coyle will certainly want the squad at the peak of fitness, motivation and quality by the time they face Stoke City at the Britannia in their opening match of their 2009/10 campaign.
The Killies though did not do much killing in the SPL last season, finishing in 8th place on 44 points just seven clear of relegated 12th placed club, Inverness Caledonian Thistle. It was however a creditable performance considering they finished second from bottom in 2007-8.
Jim Jeffries side will no doubt be up for this match and will want to boast the claiming of a Premier League scalp at Rugby Park this Thursday night. Burnley though really do have to show some spirit and motivation to stop that happening so Clarets fans, especially those making the journey North of the Border have something to shout about and can banish the disappointment of the last two games.
There is no news yet of any further injury concerns but we could see the return of Paterson for this game. He picked up a tight hamstring during training on the US Tour and has missed both games in the US and the two matches in England against Stanley and Leeds.
Micheal Duff hobbled off with an ankle injury in the second US Tour game against Portland Timbers and has not played since. It sounds like it might be too soon for him to be considered for the Killies game with St Johnstone being a more realistic target.
Owen Coyle this week commented as follows on the Paterson and Duff injuries:
'Pato has still got a little strain. It would have been too much for him (against Leeds), although he was desperate to get out and play. Hopefully he'll be fit and available for when we go up to Scotland.'
Regarding Duff he added: 'The swelling's down on it. Hopefully he'll get up to Scotland with us. Thursday (against Kilmarnock) might be too soon but he might be ready for the St Johnstone game (on Saturday), so we'll wait and see on that one.'
There is also a strong possibility that we could have a new signing in time for the Scottish Tour. Fernando Guerrero, the 19 year old former Real Madrid Reserves winger has been in town this week having further talks with Coyle. The fact he has flown over from Ecuador suggests we are very close to completing the deal with rumours that Burnley have already faxed his current club out there, Independiente del Valle agreeing to pay the asking price of £2 million. Apparently we are just waiting for the club`s president to return from holiday and rubber stamp the deal. The general feeling is that he could be lining up for the Clarets against Kilmarnock on Thursday night!
In terms of the predicted starting eleven and substitutes this could be anybody`s guess although we might now get a clue over these next two games which eleven Coyle might have in mind for the start of our first ever Premier League campaign.
Come on You Clarets!