Pulling the Teeth of Big Cats Part 2-The Lions
The Den Stadium
Saturday 2nd October 2010
The Clarets having just sent the Tigers back to the Humberside jungle with their tail between their legs now face their next challenge against the Big Cat kingdom. This Saturday they travel to the Lions` Den to play Millwall hoping to silence their roar and come away with their first victory on the road in the Championship this season.
Burnley are on a high after thrashing Hull City 4-0 on Tuesday night at Turf Moor; a result that sees them well-placed in 5th spot with 15 points from nine games. Other teams around us lost ground on Tuesday night and the results mean we are now only two points behind 2nd placed Cardiff City. QPR, who lead the table had a disappointing match as well only managing a 0-0 home draw against Millwall, the team we face at the Den Stadium on Saturday. The Clarets are now just 8 points behind the league leaders and our first league away win of the season against the Lions on Saturday would certainly keep us in contention for automatic promotion.
Millwall of course were promoted from League One last season after beating Swindon 1-0 in the Play-Offs final at Wembley and this season have taken many by surprise after showing some early form. Their form recently though has been somewhat indifferent and inconsistent. They will be buoyed by a point in midweek against the league leaders in the London derby but they will also be recalling the last league game they played at the Den Stadium suffering a 6-1 thrashing by Watford. Since that match they also tasted a 2-1 home defeat to Ipswich in the Carling Cup and lost by the same score away to Cardiff. They have therefore slumped recently after an impressive start and are currently in 12th spot three points behind the Clarets. They will be looking to get back on track against the Clarets in their intimidating stadium on Saturday and Burnley will have to be on their guard.
Millwall Team News:
Striker and winger, Shaun Batt has a long term injury and is currently in the gym trying to rebuild his leg muscles. On loan midfielder from Preston, Darren Carter and defender, Andy Frampton are both suffering from ankle injuries whilst striker, John Marquis has a wrist problem. All three are expected to return to training in the next two weeks or so.
Player to watch: Steve Morison
Morison is Millwall`s leading goal scorer this season with four goals so far in the league. The Welsh international 27 year old striker signed from the current League 2 side Stevenage (formerly Stevenage Borough) in May 2009 for £130,000. He will need to be watched having scored at a rate of nearly one goal in every two matches since arriving at the Den.
Burnley Team News:
Brian Laws looks to have a full strength squad to choose from with the exception of course of Chris McCann (Long term recovery from cruciate ligament injury following surgery). There is no news of any fresh injuries following the midweek Hull game and we have no suspensions to worry about.
Player to watch: Jay Rodriguez
Rodriguez seems to have muscled his way into the starting eleven in recent matches and has been unlucky not to score a few times after hitting the woodwork and having on form keepers to contend with. If Brian Laws keeps faith in him against Millwall, a goal will do him a power of good. He has however taken on a wider role in recent games and his chances of scoring could be improved if a 4-4-2 formation was considered with JayRod partnering Iwelumo up front.
Team & Tactics
With no news of any fresh injuries, Brian Laws must surely be tempted to name the same starting eleven and eighteen for the Millwall clash after the Clarets demolition job against Hull in midweek.
Unless he is considering a 4-4-2 approach we can expect very much the same in terms of tactics and the question again will be whether captain, Graham Alexander will be recalled to the starting eleven after being dropped to the bench against Hull. The holding midfield role against Hull was given to Jack Cork and the on-loan Chelsea midfielder had a very impressive match so he could be retained in that position on Saturday at the expense of Grezza.
I will predict the same eighteen that were selected for the Hull City clash namely:
Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Bikey, Fox, Cork, Eagles, Elliott, Marney, Rodriguez, Iwelumo
Subs: Grant, Duff, Cort, Alexander, Wallace, Paterson, Thompson
Hampshire referee, Keith Stroud is in charge of this clash. Appointed to the FIFA International Assistant Referees list in 2004, Stroud joined the Select Group Referees list in 2007. He has refereed four league games so far this season, 3 League 1 matches and one Championship game. He has yet to send anybody off but he has notched up 11 yellow cards so far.
I would settle for a point in this game but I have a sneaky feeling we are going to snatch this one and get our first away win on the table. I will go for 2-1 Clarets and a hasty retreat from South Bermondsey and London Bridge on the train.
We could do with a break after what seems to have been a continual sequence of Tuesday then Saturday games recently. After the Millwall match we get one with the International break being foisted upon us. We return to league action on Saturday 16th October with a trip to Yorkshire to face Sheffield United at Bramall Lane (Kick-Off 3pm)