Date:Friday January 9 2009
Saturday 10th January 2009
Somehow we have to get that disappointing 4-1 defeat in the Carling Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg game against Spurs at White Hart Lane in midweek out of our heads and come back down to earth with a bump this Saturday to play arguably a more important Championship home game against Swansea City.
If we want to keep our promotion challenge on track, nothing less than a win will suffice against the Swans after disappointing games against Barnsley at home and Doncaster away over Christmas saw the White Rose clubs take all six points.
An awful Clarets Christmas it was but at least we kept in the top six and we are currently 5th on 43 points but 8 points behind the 2nd and 3rd placed teams, Reading and Birmingham respectively.
Automatic promotion is beginning to look a tall order but that can`t be ruled out at this stage although a play-offs finish is looking a more realistic target.
The teams behind us are also catching up, most notably local rivals, Preston in 7th place just two points behind the Clarets. We also play Preston a week tomorrow at Deepdale, which makes a win against Swansea tomorrow even more important if we are to try and keep ahead of the Lilywhites.
Swansea are new boys in the Championship this season after their promotion from League 1 in 2007/8 and they are currently placed 11th on 35 points. They have also recently equalled the Football League record by registering an eighth straight draw against 10-man Birmingham City at St Andrews in their last League match. Surely they can`t make it nine against the Clarets?
Don`t forget lads and lasses this game will be televised by Sky Sports and will therefore kick-off late at 5:20pm.
Come on you Clarets let`s get the juices flowing again after the disappointment in midweek and get a convincing win on the board, setting us up nicely for our derby game against Preston.
One player we know wont feature tomorrow is Joey Gudjonsson. The Icelandic international midfielder came off as a precaution at Spurs in the midweek Carling Cup Semi-Final clash at White Hart Lane after feeling his hamstring.
Remco van der Schaaf has a reported kidney problem and we await news of his scan.
However with Steven Caldwell returning after completing his automatic two match ban for a red-card sending off at Doncaster Rovers over Christmas, Owen Coyle has a number of options in defence with all the recognised defenders available including Christian Kalvenes.
Both 4-4-2 and 4-1-4-1 are formation options and one wonders if it might be time to rest Clarke Carlisle after some indifferent performances. Michael Duff really plays much better at centre back and maybe it is time for him to partner Caldwell.
Steve Thompson returns also after being cup-tied against Spurs in midweek. Owen Coyle might be tempted to play him up front with Paterson and this is something I would certainly like to see tried more often.
Both Chris McCann and Kevin McDonald featured in the Spurs game after being sidelined with injury but the general consensus was they might not have been fit enough, so it will be interesting if Owen Coyle includes them in the sixteen against Swansea.
Predicting a sixteen is difficult with so many options so I will choose the side I would like to see rather than one I would expect Coyle to necessarily choose:
Jensen, Alexander, Duff, Caldwell, Jordan, Elliott, McCann, Blake, Eagles, Paterson, Thompson
Subs: Penny, Kalvenes, Carlisle, Mahon or McDonald (if fully fit), Rodriguez
Gudjonsson out with hamstring worries.
Caldwell returns after suspension as does Thompson after being cup-tied in midweek
You just sense one of these days his tireless energy and goal-scoring ability will lead to a hat-trick. Hopefully tomorrow!
Swansea look set to give loan winger, Nathan Dyer his debut against the Clarets tomorrow. A face and skill we know very well after his loan spell at Turf Moor under Steve Cotterill a few seasons back.
Defender Fede Bessone is fit to play following hamstring problem although right-back Matty Collins is sidelined after rupturing ankle ligaments.
Our former loan player signed on loan for Swansea last week from Southampton following a three-month loan spell at Sheffield United.
The controversial winger was ordered to carry out 60 hours of community service after admitting a burglary at a Portsmouth nightclub earlier this year but there is no denying the footballing talent of the 21 year old winger if his performance during his time with the Clarets is anything to go by.
We nearly got three points at the Liberty Stadium back in September after it looked like a Gudjonsson goal on 59 minutes would be enough. Swansea though had other ideas and Ferrie Bodde rescued a draw for the Swans with an equalising goal deep in injury time.
You have to go back to September 1995 for the last time we played Swansea at Turf Moor and on that day the Clarets came out on top winning 3-0 in the League Division Two battle. That season we completed the double over them also winning 4-2 at their old stadium, Vetch Field.
Michael Oliver (Newcastle)
We will shake off our Spurs and win 3-1 against the Swans. All we have to do is play like we did against Spurs in the first half for 90 minutes and no side in the Championship would stand a chance!
We play QPR in the FA Cup 3rd round replay at Turf Moor on the night of Tuesday 13th January @7:45pm KO before playing a crucial derby against Preston at Deepdale in the Championship on Saturday 17th January. This game will also be televised by Sky and has an early kick-off time of 12:45pm.
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Date:Friday January 9 2009
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