Date:Monday November 24 2008
Monday 24th November 2008
7:45 pm Kick Off
The Clarets will be keen to get back on track tonight against Barnsley at Oakwell after the disappointing 0-0 draw against struggling Doncaster Rovers at Turf Moor just two days ago.
Two days break might seem little time to prepare and recover but at least the Tykes will be in the same boat after losing away to Preston on Saturday.
The game of course will be televised on Sky Sports tonight, which is good news for Claret exiles including myself stuck down here in Cambridgeshire.
This is quite an intriguing game in view of both clubs exploits against top Premier League sides, Chelsea and Liverpool over recent seasons in various Cup competitions. There is almost an uncanny similar history.
Barnsley of course experienced an amazing run in the FA Cup last season first beating Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield, thus mirroring to some degree the success we had against Liverpool after defeating them 1-0 at Turf Moor in January 2005 in the FA Cup Third Round.
Those results though pale into insignificance after our recent victory at Stamford Bridge putting us through on penalties into the quarter finals of the Carling Cup. In another uncanny link, Barnsley themselves are another Championship side to be able to boast they beat the Nation`s top Premier League side this year. After beating Liverpool, they then went on to defeat the Blues in the FA Cup Quarter Final in March this year although their 1-0 victory was on home soil.
So the scene is set for quite a good battle, with both sides having similar bragging rights. The Clarets on paper though should be able based on form to put Barnsley in their place.
Despite the frustrations against Donny Rovers on Saturday and struggling to get a point with ten men, we are still fifth on 30 points just three points behind 3rd place club Reading. That result on Saturday also means we have now only lost two games in 19 league and cup matches.
Barnsley however of late have been struggling and currently find themselves in 17th place on 21 points.
A good performance in front of the cameras tonight and hopefully another three points will be a great fillip after the disappointment of Saturday and a victory will once more put us back on track with another home game coming up on Saturday against Derby.
Six points in the next two games and we could be challenging for the automatic promotion places let alone a play-offs spot.
Come on You Clarets!
Steve Thompson is sitting out a one match suspension after his unfortunate and to me unfair sending off for a second yellow against Doncaster on Saturday.
This will probably be an opportunity for Martin Paterson to try and re-establish himself in the starting eleven and he could line-up with either Ade Akinbiyi or most probably, Robbie Blake.
We do appear to have all our defenders available for selection for once and it will be interesting to see if Coyle returns to the 4-1-4-1 formation with Duff at right back and Alexander in the holding midfield role.
Wade Elliott looked to be injured when he was replaced by Mahon in the first half against Doncaster on Saturday but hopefully he too has made a full recovery.
I suspect we might stay with the 4-4-2 formation for the moment, mainly to accommodate Eagles although it has to be said the midfield struggled on Saturday and Gudjonsson in particular had a poor game. Whether that means, Coyle might be tempted to drop Gudjonsson we can only wait and see.
My prediction though is as follows:
Jensen, Alexander, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Elliott, Gudjonsson, McCann, Eagles, Blake, Paterson
Subs: Penny, Duff, Mahon, McDonald, Akinbiyi,
Winger Jamal Campbell-Ryce might be rested allowing an opportunity for Martin Devaney although Mounir El Haimour might also in contention.
Anderson De Silva however is suspended
Darren Moore is out with a groin injury with Bobby Hassell continuing to fill that role.
The former Clarets defender, Stephen Foster is now captain of the side and has become a Tykes fan favourite.
Clarets fans will be looking to see what all the fuss is about and how well he is now playing after never really establishing himself in Claret & Blue.
The only confirmed player who won`t feature is Steve Thompson who is sitting out his one match suspension after Saturday`s sending off for a second yellow.
Christian Kalvenes was nearing full fitness but probably wont make it to the sixteen. Remco van der Schaaf could also be close to selection after recovering from a virus infection.
If selected, Paterson will be keen to impress and get back a regular starting eleven spot.
We defeated Barnsley 2-1 at Turf Moor earlier in the year last March, Lafferty and Akinbiyi getting on the score sheet.
In the earlier game at Oakwell back in October 2007 we came away with a creditable 1-1 draw with Andy Gray scoring our goal.
Nigel Miller (Durham)
Back on track, 2-1 Clarets!
A home game against Derby County this Saturday (29th November) with the usual 3pm KO
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Date:Monday November 24 2008
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