Felling the Forest?
Tuesday 27th September 2011
The Clarets face Nottingham Forest at Turf Moor on Tuesday night still looking for their first home league victory of the season.
Burnley will have been both buoyed and disappointed in the end following their 1-1 home draw against league leaders, Southampton on Saturday. The Clarets bossed the game for long periods against the Saints and looked a class act especially in the first-half. After taking the lead in the 53rd minute thanks to an Austin goal, they perhaps took their foot off the gas allowing the Saints to come back at them and eventually equalise with ten minutes to go.
We looked far more solid in defence, more creative in midfield and more effective up front though compared to recent games and our performance in the end was certainly our best at home this season in both the Championship and Carling Cup. The lads should take heart from that performance and carry the momentum forward going into the Forest game whilst putting aside the disappointment of only managing a point against Southampton.
Although we would have taken a point against the league leaders before the game, the 1-1 draw in the end did mean Burnley were still looking for their first league win at home this season and had now gone 22 games without keeping a clean sheet. These are both worrying statistics and of course both facts have contributed to our current lowly position in the Championship league table.
We are fourth from bottom with just six points from seven games only avoiding the drop zone on goal difference ahead of Coventry and Bristol City on the same number of points. Bottom club, Doncaster Rovers, having sacked their manager, Sean O`Driscoll in midweek also managed to get their first win of the season on Saturday beating Crystal Palace 1-0 at the Keepmoat thanks to a late goal from former Clarets player, John Oster. It was a good start for new manager, Dean Saunders then but it also brought home to Clarets fans the fact that we were now just two points ahead of the bottom club. We do have one advantage though over all the clubs struggling at the wrong end of the table. Our postponed match at St Andrews in August due to Birmingham`s Europa Cup exploits has given the Clarets a one game advantage over all the clubs around us. We cannot though of course rely on three points from that game against a side plying their trade in the Premier League only last season so it is vital we take fate into our own hands and start getting a run together starting with victory against another struggling club, Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night.
Forest were of course in last season`s play-offs after finishing in sixth spot and faced Swansea in the semi-final. Having drawn the first leg 0-0 at the City Ground, they then lost 3-1 in the second leg to the eventual Wembley promotion victors. That failure saw the demise of their manager, Billy Davies and his contract was terminated in June 2011. The former England gaffer, Steve McClaren took over the reins at the City Ground in the summer after signing a three-year contract. So far though, he has had a pretty turbulent time at the club being criticised by the fans and appearing to have a difference of opinion with the Board over their transfer policy. Forest, like Burnley have not been that active in the summer transfer window and like Burnley seem to be struggling because of it!
Nottingham Forest are currently in 18th spot with eight points, just two points more than the Clarets having played a game more. They will though have been buoyed up by their second away victory of the season after beating Watford 1-0 at Vicarage Road on Saturday following three consecutive defeats. Their away form is actually better than their home form at the moment with two wins and two defeats from their four games on the road so far this season. Forest like Burnley though have yet to win on home soil in the Championship this season having lost two games and only managed two draws so far.
This is a crucial game then for both clubs on Tuesday night but for Clarets fans we really do need some more cheer after that encouraging game against Saints. We have to build on that and get the momentum going. Three points on Tuesday night would give everybody hope and relieve some of the tension and worry concerning our current situation. Come on You Clarets!
Burnley Team News:
Keith Treacy picked up a tight hamstring injury in training last Friday and as a precaution did not feature in the home game against Southampton on Saturday. He will be assessed ahead of the Forest game.
Brian Jensen (groin), Martin Paterson (thigh), Danny Ings (cartilage) and Michael Duff (knee) are all still sidelined.
Player to watch: Marvin Bartley
He won great plaudits for his performance against Southampton on Saturday getting the home fans texted man of the match award. Bartley is beginning to make the midfield spot his own and providing he keeps his tendency for red cards in check could be a key player for the Clarets this season.
Nottingham Forest Team News:
Defender, Chris Cohen will be out for the rest of the season following a knee ligament injury. The news forced McClaren into the emergency loan transfer market last week and he brought in Clint Hill from Queens Park Rangers on a 93-day emergency loan.
Strikers, Dextor Blackstock and Gareth McCleary are both suffering from knee injuries and look set to still be sidelined along with midfielders, George Boateng (ankle) and Paul Anderson (hamstring)
Player to watch: Clint Hill
All eyes could be on loan defender, Clint Hill who joined Forest recently on an 'emergency loan` basis following a long-term injury to Chris Cohen (see above). He made his debut in their game against Watford on Saturday helping Forest to keep a clean sheet for the first time in 5 games and win 1-0.The 32 year old can play at both full back or in the centre of defence. Hill started his career at Tranmere Rovers before moving to Oldham Athletic. He then joined Stoke City before moving to London after signing for Crystal Palace. Former Palace gaffer, Neil Warnock having moved to QPR then came after him picking him up on a free transfer in June 2010. Hill helped QPR gain promotion to the Premier League featuring in 45 games for the Rs. On the opening day of the season though, QPR got off to the worst possible start in the top flight going down 4-0 at home to Bolton. It was even worse for Hill. He got sent off and has not played for QPR since!
It will be interesting to see how he performs against the Clarets bearing in mind Howe is supposedly finding it difficult to bring in loan defenders! Perhaps a 32 year old, is too old for the club these days but experience is something we certainly seem to be lacking at the moment especially in the back four! Let`s hope we haven`t missed a trick and Hill performs badly against us!
Team & Tactics:
Even if Keith Treacy is adjudged to be fit ahead of the game, Howe might be tempted to keep with the same starting eleven that performed so well in the 1-1 draw at home to league leaders, Southampton on Saturday. If Treacy has recovered from his tight hamstring I would name him on the bench.
Although Ben Mee had fully recovered from his head injury after being knocked unconscious in the Posh game at London Road two weeks ago, he could only manage a place on the bench against Saints. The centre defence pairing of Amougou and Edgar performed well together on Saturday and probably did enough to keep their places. There seemed to be a good understanding between the two central defenders and we looked a lot more solid in the back four compared to recent matches.
I would simply stick with the same sixteen for the Forest clash with Treacy, if fit replacing Alex MacDonald. So that would be:
Grant, Trippier, Amougou, Edgar, Easton, Stanislas, McCann, Bartley, Wallace, Rodriguez, Austin
Subs: Stewart, Mee, Marney, MacDonald (Treacy if fit), Hines
Tyne & Wear referee, Eddie Ilderton gets this one! In the eight games he has been in charge so far this season in the Carling Cup and at Championship and lower league level he has already dished out two red cards and twenty yellow ones .His last game featuring the Clarets was last season in that shocking home game against Millwall back in March this year when we lost 3-0. At least that time he kept both cards firmly in his pocket with nobody on either team being booked. He was also in charge last season for our Championship game away to Sheffield United which ended 3-3 and the FA Cup home clash against Port Vale which finished 4-2 to the Clarets. Six yellow cards in total were handed out in those two matches, 4 at Bramall Lane and 2 at Turf Moor.
The law of averages says we have to keep a clean sheet and win at home sometime in the league this season! Put it this way if we play like we did against Saints, Forest should be no match for us so let`s get both these monkeys off our back and make it 2-0 Clarets!!
We get thrown to the Lions in their Den of Inequity next Saturday! Never a pleasant experience for away fans travelling to South Bermondsey we face Millwall on Saturday 1st October (Kick-Off: 3pm)