Burnley | Reading in the Wembley Way-Part 2
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Reading vs. Burnley

Madejski Stadium

Tuesday 12th May 2009


On Sky

Reading in the Wembley Way-Part 2

It`s crunch time with the Clarets travelling to the Madejski Stadium to play Reading on Tuesday night in the second leg of the Play-Offs Semi-Final. They have a 1-0 advantage after the first leg needing just a draw to achieve their Wembley dream.

Setting the Scene

The Clarets play Reading in the second leg of the Play-Offs Semi-Final on Tuesday night knowing that they only need to draw to ensure a trip to Wembley for the Play-Offs final. They have a 1-0 advantage after a hard fought game at Turf Moor on Saturday in the first leg. If truth be known we struggled in that game and put in a lacklustre performance unable it seemed to string together enough passes to put Reading under pressure. In the end the game was settled by one man, Reading defender, Andre Bikey. A shirt pull by Bikey in the area on Steve Thompson ensured the Clarets had a penalty from which Mr Cool Grezza stepped up to score and put the Clarets ahead 1-0 with just 6 minutes to play. Bikey then compounded Reading`s problems towards the end of the game by stamping on Blake straight in front of the referee. The red card seemed to give the Reading player, red mist and in one amazing tantrum he took off his shirt and threw it to the ground before storming off like a raging bull! Steve Coppell will not be too pleased that he will now have to change the back four with Bikey automatically banned from the second leg.

The Clarets can`t rely on their good fortune in the second leg though and they need to ensure a return to form with improvements in particular to their passing game. The victory on Saturday was the first away defeat for the Royals since January and in a bizarre reversal of fortunes for the Reading side, we now have to ensure they don`t win their first win at the Madejski since also January!

The mathematics are simple, away goals don`t count double so just a draw would secure victory. If the match finishes 1-1 on aggregate there will be 30 minutes of extra time followed by penalties if it`s still all square. The temptation for the Clarets might be to play for the draw and put out a defence minded team. That is something I certainly wouldn`t advocate and in any case I don`t think that has ever been Owen Coyle`s mindset.

We have to play our normal attacking game in my opinion and hope to get the first goal. If the Clarets could get 2-0 up on aggregate, the pressure on Reading would be immense. The psychological fear of losing at the Madejski yet again plus the home crowd getting agitated could be enough to see us through with ease.

One problem in achieving our target though could be the seemingly mounting injury list. Wade Elliott suffering from a calf injury failed a late fitness test for the first leg and he was sorely missed. The problems in midfield continued when Elliott`s replacement, Joey Gudjonsson in the first leg suffered a dead leg after an earlier strong clash with Duberry and had to be replaced after just 20 minutes. Chris Eagles was another casualty. He looked to be struggling all through the match and when he was substituted on the hour mark it turned out he had been suffering from a hip injury which could have explained his lacklustre performance. He spent the rest of the game on the bench with an ice pack! We simply just have to hope all three can recover in time for the second leg.

At least Reading also have their own problems. Bikey of course is automatically suspended for the second leg. The latest on him is that he will serve a four-game suspension since it is the Cameroonian's second red card for violent conduct this season so he will serve one more than the usual three-game suspension. The ban will carry over into the 2009/10 season.

The Royals could also be without leading goal scorer, Kevin Doyle who had only just returned to the starting eleven after a niggling knee injury. In the first leg he picked up an Achilles injury and had to be substituted after 40 minutes of play.

Anyway enough of them, what will be our line-up? Once more this is going to be difficult to predict with three key midfielders injured. I am going to make the assumption that all three players pull through in time and are fit enough to play.

If that is the case, I suspect that once more we will line up 4-1-4-1 although I still have reservations about playing Paterson up front alone. He looked to be swamped out of the game in the first leg by the tall, powerful centre backs until Thompson joined him up front. Coyle might be tempted to start both strikers this time but if not I will go for the following sixteen as our best option:

Jensen, Duff, Carlisle, Caldwell, Kalvenes, Alexander, Eagles, McCann, Elliott, Blake, Paterson

Subs: Penny, Jordan, Gudjonsson, McDonald, Thompson

Reading Team News:

With Bikey suspended after the red card and tantrum in the first leg, Coppell could choose either Alex Pearce or Kalifa Cisse in the central defence role.

Doyle is doubtful after picking up an Achilles injury in the first leg but Glen Little is available although he wasn`t named in the first-leg sixteen and was watching the match in the dugout.

James Harper, Chris Armstrong, Noel Hunt and Leroy Lita though are all out. Lita is back in light training but will not be fit in time for the second leg.

Club skipper, Graeme Murty has been sidelined since the end of February and is still receiving treatment. Ivar Ingimarsson is a long-term absentee.

Player to watch: Jay Tabb

He looked impressive and dangerous in the first-leg and nearly scored but for a spectacular save by Jensen. The 25 year old Republic of Ireland U21 winger and midfielder signed from Coventry in January 2009 for an undisclosed fee reuniting with his former gaffer at Brentford. Coppell was manager at Brentford between 2001-2 whilst Tabb had six years at Griffin Park ( between 2000-2006) before joining Coventry in June 2006.

Burnley Team News:

Clarets fans are sweating awaiting news concerning the fitness of three key injured midfielders

Chris Eagles has a hip injury, Gudjonsson a dead leg and Elliott a calf problem.

Player to watch: Brian Jensen

He was the Sponsor`s Man of the Match in the first leg at Turf Moor on Saturday. If Jensen can stop them scoring at the Madejski, we will be at Wembley for the Play-Offs final. It`s as simple as that! (cough)

Last Time We Met

It was 1-0 to the Clarets at Turf Moor on Saturday (obviously) with Graham Alexander getting the all important goal from the penalty spot.

However we also played Reading twice last October in the League. At the start of the month we suffered a 3-1 defeat at the Madejski Stadium with Chris McCann getting our goal but got revenge at Turf Moor three weeks later in a 1-0 victory thanks to a goal from substitute, Robbie Blake. The away game flattered Reading to be honest and we rode our luck maybe against them at home with the Beast once more in awesome form. Reading in that period though were flying high and looking odds-on for automatic promotion.

Ref Watch:

Mike Riley from West Yorkshire is in charge of this leg

Match Prediction:

The Clarets simply need to draw in order to get to Wembley but I don`t want Owen Coyle to try a negative defensive strategy. I don`t think it`s in his vocabulary anyway. If we can attack and get the first goal the Royals will have a mountain to climb and their minds will be full of doubt thinking about the Madejski curse. The Reading fans might also get on their back. I will predict a 1-1 draw though nevertheless.

Next Match

Let`s all hope it`s a trip to Wembley on Spring Bank Holiday Monday (25th May 2009) to face either the Blades or Lilywhites in the Championship Play-Off final. (We will know which on Monday night)

Whatever happens, our Match Previews & Reports will continue with the friendlies in the close season followed by the new 2009/10 season when hopefully we will have a load of new grounds to visit like Old Trafford!!

Come on You Clarets!

The Journalist

Writer: turfmanphil Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday May 11 2009

Time: 12:20PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Earwig-o,Earwig-o!! Eieieio. Oh my gawd are the nerves jangling now!
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11/05/2009 12:22:00
cannot see eagles starting, proper nervy times these god i hope we get through,,please lord let it be..
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11/05/2009 14:51:00
earwig,,,lol come on burnerleeeeeeeeeeee, my arse is twitching,,
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11/05/2009 15:06:00
All together squeak!! Regarding Eagles, I am not clear if he had the hip injury before the game or if not at what point he picked it up. I hope to gawd he already had the problem because he was dreadful all the match before being subbed
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11/05/2009 15:17:00
I was (sadly) only watching on SKY, but from that vantage point I did see one very obvious clash after which Eagles was left rubbing his hip. Can't remember who it was who clattered him, but it left me thinking (after what SKY initially called 'an honest challenge' by Duberry on Gujonsson - and then changed their minds about its legality with increasingly robust language on each replay) that the Royals were being a bit rough. Changing the subject, it was a huge relief when Beast saved from Tabb. I live opposite a Brentford fan who keeps reminding me when ex-Brentford Tabb scores against us. I think I am right in thinking that I have seen him at the Turf score against us for both Birmingham and Coventry. Considering I get to the Turf far too rarely, Tabb's scoring habit was a worry for me at KO. But maybe, as I can't see the second leg live at the Madejksi either, Tabb will once again be kept at bay. Is McCann okay? His went over on his ankle in the first leg didn't he?
Couch Potato
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11/05/2009 16:48:00
Please god please let us win as I have kept promising in my prayers to you I will stay off the drink for at least a monthif we get to Wembley.
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11/05/2009 18:09:00
Ill be drinking for a month non stop if we get to Wembley and win!! lol
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11/05/2009 18:16:00
Living in Twickenham, in exile, means I've seen quite a bit of Brentford over the years and Steve Coppell built quite a side at Griffin Park. Many of the better players from that side went on to join Coppell at Reading and he has recently re-united with Jay Tabb. He's only pint sized but has a tremendous work rate and can always pop up with a goal. That said, Reading aren't a better team than us and, if we all beg, hope and pray we might get a decent result !
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11/05/2009 18:25:00
If life was fair, it would be Burnley who would go up! They are the only one in the Top 6 that have neither been in the Championship play-offs nor tasted promotion to the Premier League in modern times. Let's hope for fairness!!
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11/05/2009 19:09:00
good luck lads it's been a long season and it'll be some reward to get into the big league!
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11/05/2009 19:32:00
Cheers Merlin! We now know it will be the Blades at Wembley if we get the better of Reading tomorrow
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11/05/2009 21:51:00
Latest Reading team news on their Official Site suggests Doyle will not be fit to play:Kevin Doyle is set to miss the second leg of our play-off semi-final at home to Burnley this Tuesday, kick off 7:45pm. Doyle came off in the first half of our first leg defeat at Turf Moor on Saturday with an achilles problem, and is now set for a scan to give a full diagnosis. Boss Steve Coppell said, "It doesn't look like he will be fit but we have options. We have to win the game so there's more of a responsibility on us to take the game to the opposition. That might result in a change of formation, there's still some thinking to be done but we have to win." Brynjar Gunnarsson came off injured during the closing stages of the first match but he trained with no problems on Monday and is available for selection. Glen Little is training fully and will come into the reckoning as Coppell is almost certain to go back to a 4-4-2 formation. If as expected Doyle misses out, Coppell will likely include one or both of Simon Church and David Mooney as a sub. James Harper and Leroy Lita were also in training on Monday but are not yet ready to be included. Chris Armstrong, Graeme Murty and Ivar Ingimarsson are also out.
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12/05/2009 08:11:00
god if you get in the premier league, i can see u being worse than derby..
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12/05/2009 14:18:00
What makes you say that jonathan have you actually seen us play this season?just in case you did not know we have beaten 5 Premiership teams without being in the top flight,so i would love to know on what you base your statement on?
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12/05/2009 14:37:00
Jonathan, you really ought to do a bit of research not just on the performances of Burnley and Derby on the pitch in the seasons in which they got into the play-offs, but also on the quality of the management of the two organisations. Whatever Nigel Clough manages to achieve at Derby (and I wish him well) the club remain in a deep organisational and financial mess, if my Derby-supporting relatives are to be believed. (Or is that just the way Derby fans talk?) Burnley struggle to turn a profit each season. But they have been run for over a decade now with a degree common sense and determination to improve steadily that is sadly lacking not just in football, but also in banks, businesses and much besides in the now-hopefully-ended days of cash-splashing and greed fulfilment. If Burnley do go up and come back down, they will - entirely unlike Derby - be clear-headed about how to come back down stronger. I would also recommend, Jonathan, that you read Nigel Clough's programme notes. When he welcomed the Clarets to Pride Park recently he declared that Derby needed to be like Burnley. With respect to my Ram relatives, I sincerely hope they manage to achieve that before they add Nigel to the incredible number of out-of-work managers they are already bankrolling. I have lost count.
Couch Potato
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12/05/2009 16:15:00
Look, you don't have any well known players, stadium's not big enough, and you won't be able to attract the big name that you'd need. I admit I haven't seen a lot of you this season, but the most recent was on Saturday where let's be honest you were poor and were very lucky to come away with a win..
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12/05/2009 17:30:00
Clearly you don't do your research do you jonathan? you say our stadium is not big enough? i think you will find it holds more than yours,as for attracting big names who are yours again?oh i forgot Rednapp took them with him!!who is this team far superior than Burnley its Portsmouth i have not stopped laughing since Portsmouth,how did i know this he thinks,it's called research jonathan research!!!
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12/05/2009 19:17:00
Congrats on reaching Wembley. I have thoroughly enjoyed your cup matches over the past two years. I wish you all the best against Sheffield. I'd like to see you in the Premier League.
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12/05/2009 21:46:00
Thanks Gunner Wembley Wembley
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12/05/2009 23:01:00
well done guys an best of luck in final, hope to be playin ye next season
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12/05/2009 23:02:00
Well done Burnley, go on and finish the job.
Auckland Owl
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Haha o well, found out!! Good luck to you anyway, I saw the match last night, and you deserved it..can see it being a tight final..may the best team win! But i do say 1 thing, you will need a lot of changes, I reckon that a lot of your players won't make it in the Prem, that's my honest opinion.
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13/05/2009 09:17:00
Well done lads - now for the "big one". Don't fall at the final hurdle after a long hard season.
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13/05/2009 10:42:00
Now beat the Pikeys
Tiny T
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13/05/2009 17:57:00
Many thanks to all the neutral fans above for cheering us on. We have certainly caught the eye this season and made quite a few new friends. One game away from Nirvana.Come on lads let's do this!! UTC
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14/05/2009 08:19:00

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