High Ride into The Valley
25th October 2008
The high flying Clarets are back in a play-offs spot after their 3-1 victory against Coventry City at the Ricoh Arena in midweek.
With only one defeat now in 12 matches, the Clarets find themselves in 6th place on 19 points. They are however amongst a whole host of clubs within 3 points of each other from 4th placed Bristol City on the same number of points as the Clarets down to 14th place Derby on 16 points. One win or one defeat at the moment and a club can rise or fall 4-5 places on average showing just how tight the Championship has become.
Nevertheless the Clarets will be keen to plough on and get something from their next game away to struggling Charlton this Saturday at the Valley.
Charlton, under Alan Pardew have not been the force many might have expected this season and currently languish in 20th spot just two points in front of the relegation zone.
Pardew was furious with his team`s last performance and 2-0 home defeat against Bristol City on Tuesday night this week. He looks set to wring the changes:
'In terms of consistency and levels of performance, I am beginning to wonder if it is ever going to come from some members of this side. said Pardew
'I have voiced that to them. There will some fresh faces coming in, either from within the squad or elsewhere."
Most Clarets fans will be wondering if former Clarets striker Andy Gray could be one of the Addicks casualties after fluffing chances in the last match and being substituted in the 58th minute. It was Andy Gray who scored a brace for the Clarets against Charlton last season at the Valley before being transferred there in a bitter January Window deal that upset a number of Clarets fans after Gray and his agent forced the gaffer`s hand. He had a mediocre game for them in the return match at Turf Moor when last season we completed the double over them. If he does play, we will all be hoping again that we can keep him at bay.
One major injury concern for the Clarets is Chris McCann who appears to have a 50:50 chance of playing after picking up a leg injury on Tuesday night.
"Chris McCann is a big concern after coming off the other night," said the Burnley gaffer
"He has a chance but at this moment he's 50-50. He's been in tremendous form so we'll give him every chance and hopefully he can make it."
If he doesn`t start Coyle could give an opportunity to Chris Eagles and at long last name him in the starting eleven. Eagles assisted in one goal and scored the other against Coventry after coming on from the bench. He seems to influence the game every time he comes on, now maybe it`s time to see if he help the team win without the need for a late influence!
Predicted Team Sheet
If we assume, McCann is out injured, I expect the team will line up as follows although it is also understood that Owen Coyle will also check on minor knocks to two other unnamed players.
Jensen, Duff, Carlisle, Caldwell, Kalvenes, Alexander, Elliott, Gudjonsson, Eagles, Paterson, Thompson
Subs: Penny, Jordan, Blake, Van der Schaaf, Rodriguez
The gaffer however might be tempted to start Robbie Blake, maybe in place of Thompson. Blake at long last scored for the Clarets against Coventry City on Tuesday night. After an astonishing long run without scoring that goal was his first since March 2008 and his first in 25 League & Cup games!
Blake may however have been told to wear more sober underwear after flashing his red 'Bad Beat Bob` during his goal celebration (Don`t Ask!)
Charlton Athletic Team News:
Mark Hudson, the Charlton skipper returns after a one-match ban and will play at centre-half with Martin Cranie moving to right-back.
Grant Basey might play at left-back, and midfielder Josh Wright could make his debut following a loan period at Brentford.
Player to watch: Andy Gray
Well we better watch out for him for obvious reasons, assuming he isn't one of Pardew's casualties following suggestions the Charlton gaffer is ready to shuffle the pack.
Burnley Team News:
Chris McCann is doubtful with a leg injury and has currently a 50:50 chance of playing. Eagles could be the obvious replacement if he does't make it
Player to watch: Chris Eagles
So influential in the game and it's about time he was given the chance to shine in the starting eleven. It could be game over by half-time!
Last Time We Met
A great day out for Clarets fans at the Valley last season! We came away with a 3-1 victory back in December 2007 with Andy Gray scoring a brace and Chris McCann also on the scoresheet.
The double was completed at Turf Moor in March this year with the Clarets keeping a lacklustre Andy Gray at bay with Elliott scoring a spectacular goal of the season to defeat the Addicks 1-0
Rob Shoebridge (Derbyshire)
Let's shade this one 2-1 and plough on!
Reading at home this Tuesday night(28th October @7:45 pm KO) followed by another match at Turf Moor on Saturday 1st November against Norwich City (3pm KO)