Date:Monday October 31 2011
Tuesday 1st November 2011
The Clarets play their second consecutive home game on Tuesday night with Leicester City the visitors to Turf Moor. Burnley will be hoping for another three points after beating Blackpool at home last Saturday in the high-profile Lancashire derby.
Burnley will be hoping to maintain their winning ways in the Championship on Tuesday night and secure victory for the third league game in succession. The Clarets confidence will be high after winning convincingly against their Lancashire rivals, Blackpool at home last Saturday in front of the live Sky Sports cameras. The 3-1 win lifted everybody`s spirits and if we could now beat Leicester City at home on Tuesday night we will be well-placed to mount a promotion challenge.
The Clarets are currently in 15th spot, just six points behind the 6th placed club Hull City having played the same number of games as the Tigers. We do though have a game advantage over most of the other clubs in the Championship so a win against the Foxes would certainly keep us in the hunt.
We certainly have to be careful though and anything other than victory on Tuesday night could be ominous for the Clarets bearing in mind we are also just six points off the drop zone!
Burnley simply have to find some consistency and string a few wins together to set us apart from about another 14 clubs all in with a chance of reaching the play-offs. Consistency has eluded the team so far this season and we seem to be either playing wonderful stuff or atrocious football with no shades of grey in between! Somehow we have to change this inconsistency and hope our young team in transition can move further up the table and away from the relegation places.
Leicester will be a tough challenge on Tuesday night but their season has not exactly panned out the way the pundits were predicting. There were firm favourites for automatic promotion at the start of the season having spent heavily in the summer thanks to the purchasing power of their new Thai- owners; a consortium named Asian Football Investments (AFI) who have strong links to duty free retailers the King Power Group.
Everything was looking rosy for the Foxes at the start of the season with Sven-Göran Eriksson at the helm. Most Championship clubs could only look on in awe as Sven brought in player after player in the summer having been given a cool Ł10 million to spend. There is perhaps a lesson to learn here with Leicester in the end only able to win five of their opening 13 games and Sven sent packing following a shocking 3-0 home defeat to struggling Millwall a week ago. There is perhaps a situation where you can be given too much money to spend whilst expecting virtually a new team to gel together from the off. Leicester 's team has clearly not gelled yet, but maybe you could argue they too are in 'transition` and with their depth in the squad could gel in time to still mount a strong promotion challenge. Sven certainly seems to think so still tipping them for promotion despite his departure and apparent failure.
However that all remains to be seen, at the moment they are in 14th spot just one point and one place above the Clarets having also played a game more! A victory would see Burnley climb above Leicester City come the final whistle on Tuesday night. The Foxes current form is certainly suspect too! Leicester have lost three of their last six games having won two and drawn one. On the road they have not won in their last six games although have picked up four points from four draws. In fact they have only had one victory away all season and that was their season opener against Coventry City at the Ricoh.
Leicester have lost their last two games including the 3-2 away defeat to West Ham last Saturday so they will be anxious not to lose their third consecutive game on Tuesday night. There has yet to be an announcement who their new manager will be following the departure of Sven. It looks unlikely to be resolved by the time we play them on Tuesday night so it looks like the caretakers, Mike Stowell and Jon Rudkin will still be in charge. Bring it on!!
News is awaited regarding the hip injury to Brian Easton. Easton had to come off with the game only 8 minutes old against Blackpool at Turf Moor on Saturday. Ben Mee did a good job deputising at left back and could play in that role again on Tuesday night against his former club.
It is still too soon though for Martin Paterson (thigh) and Michael Duff (knee). Danny Ings (cartilage) and Brian Jensen (groin) are also still sidelined. Duff though is the closest to making a full recovery having returned to full training.
It`s rather unusual on Vital Burnley to name the same player as the one to watch in two consecutive games but that is the case this time with Ben Mee. Ben Mee should be up for this game against a club he played for on loan last season. It was Sven-Göran Eriksson who brought Mee to the King Power (formerly Walkers) Stadium on News Year`s Day this year for the rest of the 2010-11 season. Mee played 12 games for the Foxes including the one in which they tonked us 4-0 on their home soil back in April.
The big question of course is where Mee would play in the back four if named in the starting eleven. With our left back, Brian Easton injured on Saturday, Mee may well have to continue in that position after deputising there convincingly last Saturday. We have no other option should Easton still be injured.
If not and Easton returns, we can expect Mee to start in his more familiar role in the centre of defence probably in partnership with David Edgar
Leicester appear to have virtually a full squad to choose from and it`s certainly a large one. There are no suspensions or news of any further injuries following their 3-2 defeat away to West Ham on Saturday.
Foxes striker, Paul Gallagher could be close to making a return after damaging his ankle ligaments about six weeks ago in Leicester`s 1-1 draw against Barnsley at Oakwell last month. He has already played for the Reserves recently and could soon be back in contention.
Nugent of course is no stranger to Clarets fans. The former Preston striker came to Turf Moor on loan from Portsmouth in September 2009 and played 30 games for the Clarets during our one and only season in the top flight. He finished up scoring six goals during that season and became a popular favourite amongst Clarets fans. It had been hoped that Burnley might have found a way of making his move to Turf Moor permanent but in the end with money tight as usual, those hopes evaporated and he returned to Portsmouth. Steve Cotterill, our former gaffer was now in charge at Fratton Park and he gave Nugent the chance to shine. He relished the challenge and finished up Pompey`s top goal scorer by the end of the 2010-11 season after netting 14 goals.
Ironically Nugent`s first goal for Pompey after his return to the club was against Leicester City in September 2010. Pompey trounced Leicester 6-1 that day but about twelve months later Nugent would be joining the Foxes at the newly renamed King Power Stadium when his contract at Fratton Park expired this summer. The 26 year old was one of Sven-Göran Eriksson`s numerous signings in the summer arriving at the club in July 2011 after agreeing a three-year deal. He is already the Foxes leading goal-scorer in the Championship with four goals so far this season.
Why change a winning formula? That is likely to be the main question running through Eddie Howe`s brain cells when considering his selection for Tuesday night. After the impressive performance against Blackpool at home on Saturday, I suspect we can expect a similar line-up, tactics and formation against the Foxes.
In the light of no news of any further injury concerns, the only doubt remains at left back. Will Brian Easton have recovered from his hip injury in time to feature? To be honest, I think Easton should be rested anyway. His performances have not been that impressive of late and the opposition have targeted that flank as an area of weakness.
Although we don`t have a recognised alternative at left back, Ben Mee slotted in admirably in that position on Saturday and he is not a stranger to that role having played there before for other clubs. I would therefore keep Mee at left back allowing both Edgar and Amougou to feature in the centre of the back four.
My preferred line-up therefore would be as follows:
Grant, Trippier, Amougou, Edgar, Mee, Wallace, McCann, Bartley, Stanislas, Rodriguez, Austin
Subs: Stewart, Easton (if fit), Marney, Treacy, Hines
Sunderland referee, Geoff Eltringham is in charge of this clash and hopefully it will be a good omen considering that the last time he refereed a game involving the Clarets it was in this same fixture last season! In that game at Turf Moor last season back in August 2010 we beat the Foxes 3-0. I would certainly take that score and the clean sheet again. Just two yellow cards were handed out in the game last season. Eltringham has been the man in the middle for 12 games so far this season and he doesn`t appear to be that card happy. His yellow card tally comes to 27 (just over 2/game) and he has only sent a player off twice.
Putting aside the defeat in the Carling Cup away to Cardiff last Tuesday night, in the league we have now won two matches on the bounce away to Coventry and at home to Blackpool. Indeed we have won four of the last six games in the Championship. Our confidence looks good at the moment and that could soar if we pick up another three points at home against Leicester. Leicester are no great shakes at the moment despite all the investment put into rebuilding virtually a new team this season. We are good enough to beat them if we play like we have been recently in the league and I am predicting a tight game with the Clarets shading it 2-1.
We travel to Ashton Gate on Saturday 5th November to play bottom club, Bristol City (Kick-Off:3pm)
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Date:Monday October 31 2011
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