Our Fate at Ashton Gate Will Be?
Saturday 5th November 2011
Inconsistent Burnley will travel to struggling but improving Bristol City this Saturday hoping to secure three points and erase the memory of the midweek home defeat to Leicester
The Clarets improving form in the Championship after two consecutive league wins came to an abrupt end on Tuesday night following a disappointing 3-1 defeat against Leicester City at Turf Moor.
This generally poor performance, especially in the second-half simply summed up the way we are playing at the moment with the word 'consistency` seemingly missing from the Club`s dictionary. It is vital we get ourselves back on track this Saturday when we travel to Ashton Gate to play struggling Bristol City. Whether we can or not depends on which team turns up! The defeat on Tuesday night saw the Clarets drop to 17th spot and with the club still only six points off the drop-zone it is somewhat imperative we try and get something from Saturday`s game. A win could also actually keep us in the play-offs chase since we are also just six points off the 6th placed club, Hull having played the same number of games as the Tigers but having a one game advantage over most of the other Championship clubs. It really is still all to play for if only we could find that elusive consistency and put together a decent run. A win would certainly boost confidence ahead of the International break but the breaks have not exactly benefitted the Clarets so far this season! We have lost two home games in shocking style now after each of the breaks going down 2-0 to Middlesbrough at after the one in September and then losing 1-0 to Reading after the October break.
So what chance do we have against Bristol City? The Robins are currently a bit of an enigmatic side and have recently changed their manager after sacking Keith Millen on the back of a shocking 5-0 tonking at Blackpool with the club propping up the table. They have struggled for most of the season at the foot of the table but have shown a recent improvement in form under new manager, Derek McInnes and have climbed up a place. In their last two games, both on the road they first defeated Barnsley and then earned an impressive point against promotion favourites, West Ham. Will this mean they will be in confident form on Saturday at home, bearing in mind they have yet to win this season at Ashton Gate? Former St Johnstone boss, McInnes does seem to have got his new team playing with more conviction now so anything could happen on Saturday.
Bristol City Team News:
Midfielder, Stephen Pearson completed his loan move from Derby on Friday and looks set to make his Robins debut against the Clarets.
Bristol City will however be without defenders Louis Carey and Jamie McAllister.
Veteran 34-year-old centre-back Carey is still struggling with a knee injury and has not featured since the 5-0 defeat at Blackpool at the start of October. McAllister although close to making a comeback is not yet fully fit. The full back injured his ankle in the 1-1 draw at Doncaster back In August and had to undergo surgery.
Striker Jon Stead is also still sidelined with a groin injury.
Player to watch: Nicky Maynard
Maynard is still at Ashton Gate despite the continued never-ending speculation that Premier League clubs are keen to sign the 24 year old striker. He may not have been as prolific in front of goal this season but he is still the Robins leading goal-scorer with a tally of 4 goals so far in the Championship.
The former Crewe striker signed a 4 year contract for Bristol City in July 2008 for a fee of £2.25 million becoming the club`s record signing. He missed most of last season with injury but came back to score seven goals in thirteen appearances helping to ensure the Robins avoided the drop. Maynard also got one against the Clarets in this fixture last season helping his side defeat Burnley 2-0.
Burnley Team News:
Brian Easton could still be out of contention with the hip injury he picked up in the home game against Blackpool. He is rated as 'touch and go`
Danny Ings (torn cartilage), Brian Jensen (groin) and Martin Paterson (thigh) are all still sidelined. Pato though is ready to step up his recovery with news that he is being lined-up to possibly play in a behind-closed-doors game later this month during the international break
Player to watch: Andre Amougou
Love him or hate him, Amougou`s antics are always guaranteed to raise a chuckle as well as a few heart tremors. Generally though I think he deserves to keep his place in the centre of the back four. We seem more functional and look a lot more solid with him in the team despite those 'Bikey moments`.
Team & Tactics:
Assuming Easton is still sidelined with injury, we can expect the same sixteen as the Leicester game despite a number of individual players looking jaded and underpar against the Foxes. There is no news of any further injury concerns for Howe following the Leicester defeat at home on Tuesday night.
There is perhaps some argument for dropping Jay Rodriguez who certainly had a poor game on Tuesday night and indeed he has generally looked unconvincing in a number of recent games. I just can`t see Eddie Howe dropping Jay Rod though which probably means yet another frustrating bench warming day for Hines.
Now that Duff appears to be fit again, Howe does have options in the back four but I think he will remain with the Edgar/Amougou centre pairing especially if Mee continues in the deputy left-back role in the absence of Easton. Even if Easton is fit enough to play, Ben Mee could still be preferred at left back and indeed Mee has looked solid in both games he has played in that position against Blackpool and Leicester.
Expect therefore the line-up on Saturday to look something like this in 4-4-2 formation:
Grant, Trippier, Edgar, Amougou, Mee, Wallace, McCann, Bartley, Stanislas, Rodriguez, Austin
Subs: Stewart, Duff, Marney, Treacy, Hines
Lincolnshire referee, Gary Sutton takes charge of this clash. In his 15 games so far this season, he has handed out 45 yellow cards and 4 red cards.
How do you predict Clarets games this season with any degree of confidence? We are just so inconsistent. Strangely we seem to be either great or shocking with no shades of grey in between. Ashton Gate is not a great place to pick up points if our recent history there is anything to go by. Bristol City have lost only one of their last six home matches with the Clarets over 14 years and in our last two clashes we did not even manage to score. Keeping a clean sheet with our record of only one in 30 league and cup games again looks tricky even if the Robins have spent most of the season in the bottom three. We are also up against a side who have suddenly found some form inspired by their new manager, Derek McInnes although they have still to win at home this season. Weighing everything up therefore I will predict a 2-2 draw hoping really that somehow we can shade a victory ahead of the International break.
Well after the Bristol City game it`s yet another of those dreaded International breaks and we won`t return to Championship duty until we play Leeds United at Turf Moor two weeks later on Saturday 19th November. Please note also this is in an early live televised game which