Can we outfox the Foxes?
Saturday 21st August 2010
The Clarets play their second home game of the new season this Saturday (21st August) with Leicester City the visitors to Turf Moor.
Burnley will be hoping to maintain their unbeaten start to the season following a 1-0 win at home in the opener against Forest at Turf Moor followed by a well-earned point last week against Ipswich at Portman Road, We left it late last week being down to ten men and already losing 1-0 to Ipswich with just 2 minutes of added time still to play. Clarke Carlisle was the hero getting the equalising goal with a header from an Alexander corner. Yes, I did say he scored from a corner! The fact it has taken 18 months to score from a corner is perhaps a good omen for 2010-11. Brian Laws would certainly have been happy with the tenacity, resilience and determination shown by all the players in this match and we need to carry that positive energy forward into our next game against Leicester this Saturday.
Leicester surprised many last season after they reached the Championship play-offs and they were very close to reaching Wembley but lost in a penalty shoot out against Cardff in the second leg of the of the play-offs semi-final. It`s all change at the Walkers Stadium! Manager Nigel Pearson left in the summer to join Hull City and was replaced by former QPR and Swansea gaffer, Paulo Sousa. The club was also recently taken over by a Thai consortium so things may need to settle down at the club. They have had an average start to their 2010-11 Championship campaign losing 3-2 away to Palace on the opening day of the season before earning a point in a 0-0 draw at home to promotion favourites, Middlesbrough. They are currently placed 17th with one point and now face 8th placed Burnley on four points. The Foxes will be keen to get their first league win on the board although they have won a competitive game this season having beaten Macclesfield in the Carling Cup first round.
The Clarets should not underestimate Leicester and we will need to be on the top of our game.
Burnley Team News:
Tyrone Mears looks set to return after recovering from injury but Michael Duff could face a longer period being sidelined following news that he has still not fully recovered from a calf strain picked up in the opening game of the season against Forest. It was reported last week that Duff appeared to be suffering from cramp rather than the originally suspected calf strain but there now appears to have been a change of heart again with the injury being more of a niggle than first thought. He limped off after 30 minutes in the Forest match and it was felt that the incomplete pitch renovations may have contributed to his injury. The flanks had still not been injected with the fibres unlike the central section and the pitch played softly but the good news is we won`t have to worry about that for the Leicester match since the pitch improvements are now reportedly completed.
One player who sadly won`t feature for some time is of course the luckless Chris McCann. He underwent surgery recently to permanently fix a cruciate ligament that was refusing to heal. McCann who missed most of last season in the Premier League with knee problems now faces another six months out whilst he fully recovers.
David Edgar will also be sidelined for this match after picking up an automatic one-match suspension. He was red-carded last week after picking up two yellows in our match at Portman Road.
Player to watch: Chris Iwelumo
Clarets fans will be hoping the big lad can add to his one-goal tally so far after two games and give the Leicester defence all sorts of problems. Steven Fletcher who?
Leicester City Team News:
New signing from Southend, midfielder Franck Moussa could be set to make his Foxes debut.
Centre back, Miguel Vitor though could be sidelined again following a reoccurrence of a thigh injury in a reserves game recently.
Another centre-back, Bulgarian, Aleksander Tunchev is also out of contention although he could be back on the training pitch within a month after a long layoff with a cruciate ligament injury which he picked up in January 2009.
Player to watch: Jack Hobbs
We will go with the recommendation provided by Vital Leicester editor, Joe Brewin aka JBFox.
We asked him the following question as part of a joint Q&A session:
Which player could give us the most problems on Saturday?
He replied as follows:
" If he puts in a performance of a similar vein to the Middlesbrough game, Jack Hobbs could frustrate your strikers all game long. He had a bad start to the season, but looked his usual brilliant self at the weekend to keep Kris Boyd quiet. Good in the air, strong in the tackle and a real asset to this club. "
The 22 year old former Lincoln City centre back recognised at England under-19 level signed permanently from Liverpool in April 2009 following a loan spell at the club. He signed a four year contract for an undisclosed fee and impressed the Foxes so much that he picked up the club's player of the year and players' player of the year (shared with teammate Andy King) awards at the end of the 2009-10 season.
Brian Laws this season and in pre-season friendlies seems to have experimented mainly with 4-5-1 and 4-3-3 formations and I expect we will once more play with one striker upfront supported by the wingers.
Chris Iwelumo, who scored in our season opener against Forest, looks the most likely again to be our loan striker. By his standards though, he had a pretty ineffectual game last week often being snuffed out by the Ipswich defence. Could Thommo be give his first start?
The other question is whether Jack Cork could get a starting place. Signed earlier this month from Chelsea on a season-long loan the midfielder went straight into the squad last Saturday but had to be content with being an unused sub.
I suspect Laws though will keep a very similar line-up to last Saturday
Our predicted eighteen is as follows:
Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Bikey, Fox, Alexander, Marney, Elliott, Wallace, Iwelumo, Paterson
Subs: Grant, Cort, Cork, McDonald, Eagles, Rodriguez, Thompson
Last Time We Met
We last played Leicester City in their unfortunate relegation season to League 1 in 2007-8. It was a season of turmoil for the Clarets too with the departure of manager, Steve Cotterill by mutual consent in November 2007. The first game we played after Cotterill left was against Leicester at the Walkers Stadium on Saturday 10th November 2007 and the task of managing the side that day was given to Steve Davis as caretaker. Everybody rose to the occasion with the Clarets coming away with a 1-0 victory thanks to a 23rd minute goal by Andy Gray.
About one month later and the Foxes visited Turf Moor for the return game on the night of Tuesday 4th December with new manager, Owen Coyle now in charge of the Clarets. We could not achieve the double that night though having to be content with a 1-1 draw. David Unsworth had put us ahead after 19 minutes only for Iain Hume to equalise on 78 minutes.
You can read about both these games by going to our archived match reports via these links:
Burnley outfox Foxes!
Clarets Not at the Double
31 year old Sunderland referee, Geoff Eltringham takes charge of this one and he will be making his debut at Turf Moor. This is only his second season in the Football League and indeed only his second Championship match in charge. He was in charge of 26 games last season and his final tally was 56 yellow cards and 6 red cards. So far he has only been involved in one game where he didn`t feel the need to book anybody although that was his only other Championship game back in February at Hillsborough. Sheffield Wednesday beat Blackpool 2-0 that day with both clubs enjoying a rare card free day.
This could be a tight game but we should be good enough to take all three points and I will go with a 2-1 Clarets victory.
There is the little matter of the Carling Cup second round match away to League 2 Morecambe this Tuesday night (24th August @ 7:45pm Kick-Off) but we return to League action on Saturday 28th August with a tricky away game against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium (Kick-Off 3pm)