Pulling the Teeth of Big Cats Part 1-The Tigers
Tuesday 28th September 2010
The Clarets face the first of two clashes against the so-called Big Cats of the Championship. On Saturday we have to stop the roar of the Lions at the Den Stadium but first up it`s the Tigers who we have to ensure remain toothless with Hull City the visitors to Turf Moor on Tuesday night.
Burnley lost their 100% home record on Saturday having to settle for a point following a disappointing 0-0 draw against Bristol City. They now have a chance to redeem themselves with another home game coming up on Tuesday night. Hull City are the visitors and they will be keen to get their second away win on the board following their 2-0 victory at Carrow Road against high-flying Norwich City on Saturday.
Hull City and the Clarets both suffered relegation from the Premier League of course last season but as was pointed out time-and-time again we had in theory 'gone down stronger` than Hull City who were now in a financial pickle and likely to struggle in the Championship!
Whether that is so, we do need to be aware that although we are relatively well-placed in 8th spot with 12 points from 8 games, Hull City managed by Nigel Pearson are now only one point behind us in 15th place so in terms of performance on the pitch there seems to be very little between the teams. We have not had our share of luck though in recent games with keepers playing out of their skins and failing that the woodwork being on their side.
Let`s be honest though, we have not had enough consistency and we have to start taking our chances, kill games off and stop looking for excuses. If we play like we did away to Palace and at home in the Carling Cup against Bolton in recent games we should be storming this league and fighting for automatic promotion come May. The truth is though we might start playing like we did against Preston for the first 80 minutes or like we did against the Robins for long-periods in the first half last Saturday. In other words gutless, passionless and clueless. That is simply not good enough and we can`t afford to continue playing like that certainly at home.
Nothing less than three points will do against the Tigers! Come on you Clarets
Burnley Team News:
There is no news of any new injuries and we have no suspensions for Brian Laws to worry about with only Chris McCann (under long-term recovery from cruciate ligament surgery) not available for selection.
Player to watch: Dean Marney
It will be interesting to see if Laws is tempted to start Dean Marney against his former club. Marney should certainly be up for this one. The 26 year old former Spurs midfielder joined the Clarets in May for an undisclosed fee thought to be worth around £500,000.
Hull City Team News:
Midfielder, James Harper has set his sights on a belated Hull City debut at Leicester next month after getting the all-clear to step up his comeback from injury.
The 29-year-old summer signing from Sheffield United has been forced to bide his time after breaking his foot in a pre-season friendly with North Ferriby in July.
Another casualty is striker, Caleb Folan who has yet to return following a thigh injury picked up in pre-season.
Hull City defender Anthony Gerrard, on a season-long loan from Cardiff City says he is playing with a calf problem that may eventually require surgery. He looks set to still play against the Clarets though.
We will bring you more updates if and when there is any news. Look out for Hull`s team news in the comments below this article.
Player to watch: Jimmy Bullard
The strange case of Jimmy Bullard continues. In January 2009, Bullard completed a move to Hull City from Fulham for £5 million, a record transfer fee paid by the club. The club going for broke and success in the Premier League then proceeded to lose his services on his debut when the unfortunate midfielder picked up a knee injury that would keep him sidelined for the rest of the season whilst he recovered from cruciate ligament surgery. He would not return until October 2009 but two months later he would be laid off with injury again for eight weeks after damaging his left knee.
The Hulls fans patience with Bullard on his return was beginning to wear thin and he was even booed after missing a penalty in a crucial game against Sunderland. It was clear they viewed his high transfer fee and wages and the poor return on them as partly responsible for the club's financial problems and relegation fight. It was widely expected that Bullard would leave in the summer with Hull City desperate to improve their financial position.
Celtic had been given approval to discuss loan terms with Bullard but he turned them down after they refused to meet his wage demands. Hull City desperate to sell the player but worried he may pick up another injury kept he was kept sidelined during the pre-season friendlies and he was not even given a squad number for the start of the 2010-11 season. With the summer transfer window now closed and with Bullard still on the books however he returned for a game against Derby County wearing the Number 27 shirt earlier this month. Bullard played the full 90 minutes and put in an impressive performance with the Rams going home defeated 2-0. He now seems to be a regular again in the team and he is tough to play against when on form so the Clarets will need to keep him in check.
Team & Tactics
Can we expect more of the same from Brian Laws? Will he start with the same team that faced Bristol City and struggled for long-periods or will he be tempted to change things around?
Some Clarets fans are hoping for a major change in tactics, including yours truly but the mounting call for a 4-4-2 approach is unlikely to be taken on board so Martin Paterson could once more find himself on the bench instead of giving support to Iwelumo up front. Even a Thommo/Iwelumo or JayRod/Iwelumo partnership up front could give us more options but you just sense Laws is not an advocate this season of 4-4-2 so I suspect we will have a similar line-up to Saturday. I would though be tempted to start with Marney against his former club and you do have to question whether Alexander should start this match. At the moment he appears to be the weakest link in midfield and it is now also a worry that he even missed a penalty in the last match, his first failure from the spot since joining the Clarets. Jack Cork in the holding midfield role looks the better bet to me and I would name the following eighteen:
Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Bikey, Fox, Cork, Eagles, Elliott, Marney, Wallace, Iwelumo
Subs: Grant, Cort, Duff, Alexander, Paterson, Thompson, Rodriguez
Staffordshire referee, Tony Bates gets this one! Let`s hope we won`t have to sing 'The Referee is a Master Bates..er!` In his eight games so far this season in the Championship and lower leagues, he has handed out 22 yellow cards and sent two players off.
It has to be a home win. Nothing less will be acceptable no matter what bad luck or intervening woodwork gets in the way! 3-1 Clarets and don`t mess up!
The Clarets play the second team of 'Big Cats` on Saturday 2nd October (Kick-Off 3pm) when they travel to lovely (NOT) Bermondsey for the intimidating clash at the Den Stadium against the Millwall Lions!