View From T'other Side-Leicester
Vital Burnley are grateful to Joe Brewin (aka JB Fox), editor of Vital Leicester for spending some time completing our Question & Answer session.
We asked Joe ten questions about our match against the Foxes at Turf Moor this Saturday (21st August) and here are his responses:
1. What are Leicester's expectations for the season? Where do you expect to finish?
After last season's unexpected run to the play-offs, many still believe we can have another good crack at it again. Losing Nigel Pearson was a bitter blow at the time, but Paulo Sousa's arrived at the club in his place and seems to be making the right kind of noises so far. We have a squad more than capable of getting to where we reached last season, but it won't be easy. Personally I'd be inclined to say we'll finish in the top half just outside the play-offs.
2. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What areas could the Clarets exploit?
Robbie Neilson at right back would have been most City fans' pick for a weak spot, but in truth he's had an excellent start to the season. He looks a completely different player under Sousa, which obviously everybody's delighted about. We have just signed another more accomplished attacking full back however, so whether or not he plays is yet to be seen.
Elsewhere we also look fairly vulnerable on the counter attack, but given the fact we'll be playing away against a strong side it's unlikely that we'll be going gung-ho for you to catch us out.
3. Which player or players could give us the most problems on Saturday?
If he puts in a performance of a similar vein to the Middlesbrough game, Jack Hobbs could frustrate your strikers all game long. He had a bad start to the season, but looked his usual brilliant self at the weekend to keep Kris Boyd quiet. Good in the air, strong in the tackle and a real asset to this club.
4. What do you think about your start to the season?
It's been a little slow, but there's a lot to be encouraged by. Losing at Palace was a real blow, but it was really down to a dreadful first half of defensive errors that gave us far too much work in the second to correct. Since then we've looked much better, and we'll get that first win soon. We dominated against Middlesbrough, but finding that cutting edge to grab the points was just too much unfortunately.
5. What are your thoughts about the new set-up at the Walkers Stadium (Thai consortium)?
It's like going into the unknown to be honest. We've all seen how foreign takeovers can go wrong, but fingers crossed, the new owners seem to have a realistic mindset for this club. They have already promised the manager new funds in the transfer market, but how much and what it will be spent on is really anybody's guess. Mandaric said he wouldn't sell us to any old joker, but it's the sort of thing you have to assess after at least a year.
6. How do Foxes fans rate manager, Paulo Sousa?
As I said before, he's started well. He's not come in and changed a great deal from an already successful team, which is exactly what I hoped he'd do. Incredibly he's managed to get the best out of DJ Campbell in a Leicester shirt, something I thought I would never see with everything that happened at Blackpool last season for him. That first win will be crucial for Sousa though.
7. Can you comment on those players coming in and those leaving Leicester this summer? Are you hoping for more signings and where do you want to strengthen?
In terms of departures, there's not one player I'll be shedding a tear over. All were fringe or youth players who simply weren't good enough to make the grade. Sousa's brought in two Portuguese players, Miguel Vitor a highly rated Benfica centre back on loan, and defensive midfielder-cum-centre back Moreno. One of League Two's best players of the last few seasons in left back Tom Kennedy has joined, along with young Southend midfielder Franck Moussa on free transfers. I'm happy with them all on first impressions.
8. What do you think of Burnley's chances this season and where do you think we will finish?
I'd be very surprised to see you outside the top six, but in truth I think you'll probably bag one of the automatic places. Despite losing Fletcher you've managed to keep hold of the majority of the Premier League squad, whilst adding experienced Championship players such as Chris Iwelumo and Lee Grant.
9. Do you think our image and reputation has been improved after a season in the top flight? I sense we now get more respect. Do you agree?
I'd agree with that. When Burnley first made their way out of the Championship there was a feeling that it was something of a fairytale tale in the mould of teams such as Hull and Blackpool. After languishing in modest positions in the league before, I think that was probably a fair assessment. Now you're back however, there is a real sense from people that you are genuine contenders for the top spots in the league. Amazing what a couple of seasons can do, isn't it?
10. And the score will be?
I'm finding it difficult to predict this one. If the real Leicester turn up who want to finish their chances then I think we can sneak a win. Head over heart on this one though, going down the middle for a 0-0 draw. Exciting.
One again thanks to Joe for taking the time out to do this. If you want to see my answers to Joe's questions then nip over to Vital Leicester by clicking this link:
Q & A with Burnley