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The Wait for Watford in Season Opener Nearly Over!


Turf Moor

Saturday 6th August 2011


The start of the 2011-12 season has been some time coming but at long last on Saturday we get the new campaign underway with a home game against Watford.

The Pre-amble

The Clarets fans seem to be divided strongly into one of two camps ahead of the new season and it seems to revolve around the signings (or lack of them) in the summer and the ones we have lost. Will we miss Jack Cork, Chris Eagles and Tyrone Mears? Will we need more squad depth after losing eight players in the summer and bringing in just three new players? (Four with third-string keeper, Jon Stewart). Well, we have our first chance to see how well we might fair on Saturday against a side not predicted to do very much this season. The Hornets are the visitors.

It has certainly been a torrid pre-season for Watford. Their manager, Malky MacKay left to join Cardiff City in June with Sean Dyche taking over their reins. In the same month, their top goal scorer from last season, Danny Graham upped sticks to sign for newly promoted Premier League Swansea. They have though been active in the summer transfer window with six new signings including of course former Burnley striker, Chris Iwelumo. Their pre-season campaign though has been less than impressive managing just one win against non-league Wealdstone. They lost 1-0 away to League 1 Colchester in their last friendly. The Hornets will be hoping to improve on 14th place from last season but most pundits seem to think they will struggle.

Burnley Team News:

There is currently no news of any injuries following our last pre-season friendly at home to Sunderland last Saturday and Howe would appear to have his whole squad to choose from (accepting the players out on loan). The squad was supplemented this week with the arrival of winger, Keith Treacy from Preston and we also signed third-string keeper, Jon Stewart on a one year contract following a successful trial in pre-season. Who knows there could even be some more signings before we kick off the 2011-12 season so watch this space!

Player to watch: Keith Treacy

All eyes will be on Keith Treacy, our new winger and our first permanent signing of the summer .The 22 year old former Blackburn player arrived from Preston in midweek and is widely tipped to replace Chris Eagles.

Watford Team News:

Chris Iwelumo is expected to fully recover from his minor hamstring tweak by Saturday and looks set to play against his former club. Watford appear to have strengthened their left side bringing in left back Carl Dickinson from Stoke and left midfielder, Craig Forsyth from Dundee.

Player to watch: Chris Iwelumo

Iwelumo returns to Turf Moor already after being sold to Watford in the summer and will hoping to score against his old club! The striker was injured after picking up a hamstring tweak in their pre-season friendly against AFC Wimbledon recently being rested for their next two games. However it sounds like this was just a precaution and that the injury was a minor, niggly one.

Team & Tactics

It is certainly difficult to predict the starting eleven and subs bench for this one! Not many clues were evident from the last game against Sunderland and with both Pato and Austin looking subdued up front our attack will certainly be an interesting choice. I suspect we will play 4-4-2 in some shape or form; it is just a question of who will partner Jay Rodriquez up front. We can only name five subs now on the bench as well.

This would be my selection:

Jensen, Trippier, Amougou, Mee, Fox, Elliott, McCann, Marney, Treacy, Paterson, Rodriguez

Subs: Grant, Duff, Edgar, Bartley, Austin

Ref Watch:

Mark Brown (East Yorkshire) is our first referee of the season in charge

Match Prediction:

Well we have to be positive don`t we for the first match of the new season and a home game at that!? Watford do not appear to anybody`s bet for any huge success this season with some suggesting they could even be relegated. Burnley on the other hand look doomed to mid-table mediocrity if you believe the pundits so we certainly have a lot to prove for a squad lower in numbers than last season and without the quality of players like Tyrone Mears, Chris Eagles and in particular Jack Cork. What the hell 2-1 Clarets! Iwelumo for them no doubt if he plays!!

Next Match

We turn our attentions to the Carling Cup on Tuesday night (9th August Kick-Off 7:45 pm) with our first round tie at home to Burton Albion before travelling to Selhurst Park on Saturday 13th August for our first away game of the season against Crystal Palace (Kick-Off: 3pm)

Date:Thursday August 4 2011
Time: 7:19AM


I am hoping that our new look team with our young manager will be full of youthful confidence and could be a surprise package. The first few games are crucial to that confidence and I am hoping for some attractive football on Saturday rewarded by a comfortable win. Long term I think EH is trying to build a genuine footballing team and we could be in for some good games, historically the dour defensive teams are the successful promotion teams but not always. My money is on EH going for the Prem in the 12/13 season with the aforementioned genuine footballing team.
04/08/2011 07:56:00
Totally agree cc i for one think we have a better team spirit this season than last year, and with a few more signings before the transfer window shuts i am more positive than last year. With the defence looking more solid already and with the players who want to play for Burnley the team look ready to play for EH. This season will be a transitional year because EH wanted to get shut of a few more players and build a squad of his own players. So let start with a win on Saturday.
04/08/2011 09:05:00
I'm looking forward to the start of a cracking new season... The wait has been unbareable... Hope to get the season off to a flyer... Good luck Burnley..
04/08/2011 09:47:00
reports of another bid for Patto at 2.5M ...... what are we thinking about get him sold ASAP .. a player that hasn't shone for me at all in the last two years, we dont even know how long his fitness will last
04/08/2011 10:13:00
Think its a good offer but with his injury problems would defo sell for 3 mil but could we get a decent replacement before the transfer window shuts that would only be my concern.
04/08/2011 10:53:00
I'd probably start Wallace rather than Treacy, just becasue Keith's only just arrived. Give him his first run out against Burton. And I'd have Easton on the bench rather than Duff, because he's left-footed. I think we're looking stronger defensively than last season. We're short of numbers in midfield to get through a full season. I'm okay on our strikers. If Eddie's got a different sort of player in mind, and reckons he can land him, a 2.5m offer for Pato would have to be tempting. But just because we had a choice of two big lumps up front last season, are we just worrying unduly that we don't have one now? I'd stick rather than twist.
Couch Potato
04/08/2011 11:17:00
When Pato plays he gives everything, If he can avoid injury Iwould expect him to score at least 10 league goals. Austin has not yet proved himself at this level. The defence may just prove to be like an Iron curtain, just hope Jenson/Grant are not the weak link in it.
Grimsby Claret
04/08/2011 18:00:00
Pato certainly hasn't featured much recently and I suspect he might be a bit restless. That can be dangerous in and around the dressing room. Think it might be known as 'Blake Syndrome'. Eddie clearly wants his own team and may regard Pato as being associated with the previous regimes. Disappointed to see him go if he does leave...but nothing lasts forever and 2.5 - 3m seems like a fair deal for all parties to me.
04/08/2011 18:26:00
3 Million nothing less.
Grimsby Claret
04/08/2011 19:23:00
Id prefer for him to stay, he seems a hard worker and if that rubs off on the other players I can only see that as improving team morale. He does seem to be a team player and his workrate is fantastic, why are we contemplating selling players with the start of the season a mere 2 days away??
04/08/2011 20:28:00
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