Date:Friday November 21 2008
Saturday 22nd November 2008
The Clarets have been enjoying the dizzy heights of success recently; they have of course stunningly knocked out Chelsea in the Carling Cup at Stamford Bridge and now face Arsenal at Turf Moor in the quarter final a week next Tuesday.
But their Championship League form too has been exemplary and they are now in 4th place after only two defeats in 18 games in all competitions. They currently have 29 points, only 4 points behind third place club Reading and five behind Wolves in 2nd.
Not content with beating the top Premier League club will all their millions, last Saturday they beat the reportedly richest club in Britain, QPR at Loftus Road so what can we expect when bottom club, Doncaster Rovers visit the Turf tomorrow?
After all the highs in recent weeks, playing Doncaster should be relatively easy but you just can`t help feeling this could be a disaster waiting to happen if we are not on our guard and become too complacent.
How many times has that happened in our chequered history?
Shelton Martis scored the only goal of the game as Doncaster beat Ipswich for their first win in 13 league games last Saturday, a goal which also ended Doncaster's goal drought at home, which had stretched to 325 minutes of football. Have they hit form at the wrong time? They have certainly had problems in attack but to be fair to them they have played quite attractive football despite the lack of goals and points. However they are still propping up the division in 24th place with just 12 points and a goal difference of minus 15. We really should be too strong for them if we continue to play as we have but football is a funny old game as we all know.
Owen Coyle will be celebrating his first anniversary in charge and will be keen to keep the winning streak going. Even the normally fatal Manager of the Month Award has not stopped our advance, so let`s win this one convincingly and put another taboo feeling to bed.
Michael Duff was on International duty for Northern Ireland this week and picked up a knock in their 2-0 home defeat by Hungary.
'Michael Duff is a concern because he came off with a knock for Northern Ireland on Wednesday night. We are just waiting to hear the extent of the injury whether it is a minor knock or if he will be struggling for Saturday.' said Coyle
Duff`s Northern Ireland colleague, Martin Paterson though along with Scotland`s Graham Alexander and Kevin McDonald have all come through their International duty unscathed and will be available for selection.
Chris Eagles stretchered off in the last game against QPR was a worry until it was revealed after the match that he had just twisted his ankle and not injured his hamstring as first thought. He looks certain to be fit for this match.
Steven Caldwell is theoretically available again after a one-match suspension against QPR following his second yellow sending off against Chelsea. He is however still a doubt having picked up an injury.
It is understood that Christian Kalvenes is nearing fitness but again he is still not ready to play which could mean a back four headache for Coyle if both Duff and Caldwell are also ruled out.
Remco van der Schaaf has only just returned to training following a virus so he too is doubtful.
Well we will have to hope that Duff makes it, and if he does I suspect we will line up 4-4-2 as follows:
Jensen, Alexander, Duff, Carlisle, Jordan, Elliott, McCann, Gudjonsson, Eagles, Blake, Thompson
Subs: Penny, Mahon, McDonald, Paterson, Akinbiyi
Michael Duff picked up a knock in the midweek International and faces a fitness test.
Steven Caldwell is available again after suspension but is a doubt with a knock.
Christian Kalvenes is nearing fitness but will not figure
Thompson really does need to start scoring in his own right, he only has one deflected goal to his name so far this season for the Clarets. Although he seems to win everything in the air, he needs to start proving his worth in the goal-scoring department too. You just sense he is going to score a hat-trick soon!
Doncaster manager Sean O'Driscoll looks set to keep the same squad of players that did so well last weekend against Ipswich. There are no fresh injury or suspension worries from that game.
Defender Gareth Roberts is doubtful with the hamstring injury that kept him out of the Ipswich game although James Coppinger could make the bench following a calf injury.
Sean McDaid has a long-standing knee problem and wont feature.
Jos Van Nieuwstadt is still on the road to recovery from a hamstring injury.
Gordon Greer is suffering from an ongoing groin problem.
Midfielder Mark Wilson has also joined League One Tranmere on loan.
Spicer seems to have come on from the bench more than been a regular midfielder in the starting eleven for Doncaster Rovers and has only featured in a few games this season.
The former Clarets player though came on from the bench in the last match against Ipswich and played well in the 35 minutes of the match remaining.
He will be keen to play in tomorrow's match. Spicer had this to say about his return to Turf Moor:
'It will be tough going to Burnley. They are on a good run in the league and they are also through to the last eight of the Carling Cup. But I think that we've got the players to go there and beat them.
'I was at the club for three years, and I've got a lot of mates there, so I'm looking forward to playing against them if I'm picked. You want to play well in every game and that is even more the case when it is against one of your old clubs.'
You have to go back to Season 1991/92 for the last time we played Doncaster Rovers. We bizarrely played them five times that season! In the league, and we were both in the 4th Division then, we got the double over them winning 4-1 away in August and then 2-1 at home in December 1991. They managed to draw 1-1 at Turf Moor in an FA Cup match in November but we then won 3-1 at their place a few days later. In between we also beat them 2-0 in an Associate Members match at Turf Moor. Five games against the same club in less than five months!
Steve Bennett (Kent)
Providing we don`t start playing silly buggers, this should be a comfortable win for the Clarets based on current form. If we play like we have in the last few games (Wolves aside), I just can`t see the Rover`s defence keeping us out, looking at their goal difference. 3-0 Clarets!
We have to catch our breath quickly because two days after Doncaster it will be our turn to cross the Pennines to face Barnsley in the Sky Televised game at Oakwell on Monday night (24th November 7:45 Kick-Off)
Date:Friday November 21 2008
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