Date:Monday March 16 2009
Tuesady 17th March 2009
The Clarets will be looking to win their fourth League game on the trot on Tuesday night and keep their play-offs dreams alive. They face a long drive down to Suffolk for a match against Ipswich at Portman Road.
Burnley are currently in 5th place on 61 points, just two points behind 4th place Sheffield United and three points behind Reading in 3rd. They will be hoping to improve on that position against Ipswich at Portman Road on Tuesday night. The Clarets confidence should be high after winning their last three League games and scoring nine goals in their last two matches including a 5-0 thumping of Forest last Saturday.
The match against Ipswich will be the first of three tricky consecutive games on the road, with Plymouth to follow this Saturday and then Derby County at Pride Park on Saturday April 4th following the International break. It is crucial we get points from all these games in order to maintain our challenge for a top 6 finish with effectively nine clubs fighting for those top six places.
Ipswich are just outside in 10th place with 54 points and in theory could still reach the play-offs themselves but they would need to beat the Clarets on Saturday to stand any chance. They will however be buoyed up by their 1-0 victory away to Reading on Saturday and they recently also held league leaders, Wolves to a 0-0 draw at Molineux. The Clarets will therefore need to be on their guard and Portman Road is never an easy ground to come to. Ipswich though were beaten 3-0 at home by relegation-threatened Southampton in their last home game so if we keep our composure and confidence, three points are by no means impossible.
Steven Thompson will not feature for the Clarets in the Ipswich game after being stretchered-off with an ankle injury in the 8th minute of the game against Forest. However, a scan today has revealed that the injury is not as severe as it was feared with hope that Thommo could return by the time we play Derby County.
This could be the opportunity for young Jay Rodriguez to start a couple of games up front with Martin Paterson in Thommo`s absence and he certainly made his mark against Forest on Saturday after coming on for Thompson with just eight minutes played. He crowned off a good day by scoring a wonder goal that could well be a candidate for goal of the season.
Alan Mahon could well be joining Blackpool on loan today to become the fifth squad player to be loaned out by Owen Coyle this season, but other than the loans, the Thommo injury and the long-term injury to Russell Anderson, the gaffer appears to have all the remaining squad to choose from, with no suspensions and no further injury concerns reported.
I would think in light of the two stunning victories in our last two games against Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest, Owen Coyle will be tempted to select the same sixteen except of course for Jay Rodriguez replacing the injured Thompson.
The likely sixteen will therefore be:
Jensen, Williams, Carlisle, Caldwell, Kalvenes, Alexander, Elliott, McCann, Blake, Rodriguez, Paterson
Subs: Penny, Jordan (or Duff), Eagles, McDonald, Gudjonsson
Striker, Giovani Dos Santos currently on loan from Spurs until the end of the season could make his full debut for Ipswich after coming on from the bench against Reading last Saturday.
Jon Walters however ruptured his ankle ligaments last week and is now out for the rest of the season.
Right back, Moritz Volz, a season long loan from Fulham is also out for another month with a groin injury
The former Blackburn Rovers striker was often linked with a move to Turf Moor during Steve Cotterill`s days in particular but after leaving Ewood Park in June 2005 he joined Sunderland in a deal worth £1.8 million. The goal drought though continued and after a loan spell with Derby County he eventually was signed by Sheffield United for a fee of £750,000 (potentially rising to £1.2 million) on a three-and-a-half year deal in January 2007. With goals and games not forthcoming, Stead signed on loan for Ipswich and after just game signed a permanent deal in Sept 2008 for a fee believed to be around £600,000. He is now banging in the goals at a rate of 1 in 3 games, scoring 10 goals so far in 30 games.
Steven Thompson has an ankle injury and will certainly miss the next two games.
We have no suspensions to worry about and there is no further news of any injuries.
Jay Rod has been named on the bench 30 times this season and made 24 appearances often coming on from the bench late in the game. He until recently had a reputation just for scoring late goals in the Cup matches after scoring against Fulham in the Carling Cup and QPR in the FA Cup, not to mention that third goal he scored against Tottenham in the 88th minute of the Carling Cup semi-final second round match at Turf Moor. That was the goal of course that briefly had Clarets fans thinking our Wembley Dream might be on after all before Spurs shattered the dream in the last two minutes of extra time.
In the last two games though, we have seen the confidence and cool-headedness that young Jay has in front of goal in the Championship. He scored a well-taken goal against Crystal Palace at home almost a week ago and then followed that up with a stunning goal against Forest on Saturday, one that could well win the goal of the season award.
He was of course given longer to impress than usual on Saturday coming on in the 8th minute to replace the injured Thompson. He acquitted himself well and now looks set to be given his full debut in the match against Ipswich. Let`s hope the local lad and fans favourite, does us all proud tomorrow night and that he can further cement his claim for a starting eleven place over the next two games.
Clarets fans will want to quickly forget our first home game of this season with Ipswich the visitors.
Having just been crushed at Hillsborough 4-1 by the Owls in the opening game of the season we were then humiliated at home by the Tractor Boys, losing 3-0.
The only entertainment of the day for Clarets fans was seeing one of the Red Devils miss the centre of the pitch and parachute down onto the Cricket Field Stand roof thus delaying the start of the game for ages while the fire crew and safety officers got him off. Entertaining embarrassment was a more appropriate way of describing the debacle.
Anyway thankfully the poor start is now history but we won`t want to give Ipswich the double over us this season.
Last season at Portman Road we came away with a point after drawing the match 0-0 back in December 2007. We have over the years picked up a few draws on this ground but you have to go back to January 1970 for the last time we actually won at Portman Road. We secured a 1-0 victory back then and we will certainly not want a repeat of the 6-1 tonking we got from the Tractor Boys on this ground back in October 2003 during Stan Ternent`s reign.
Rob Shoebridge (Derbyshire)
A point looks on the cards again but I think we can sneak this one 2-1. Jay Rodriguez will hopefully add to his recent tally with Paterson scoring for the first time in nine games.
Another long-distance hike, this time to sunny Devon to play Plymouth at Home Park on Saturday 21st March (3pm Kick off). Thankfully there will then be time to recover with the International Break to come before we play our third consecutive away game, this time against Derby County at Pride Park on Saturday April 4th
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Date:Monday March 16 2009
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