Lion Taming at the Turf, Burnley Hope!
Saturday 25th February 2012
The Clarets take on Millwall at Turf Moor this Saturday hoping to complete their third double of the season and maintain their chances of a play-offs spot.
Burnley have lost ground in midweek following the Championship games on Tuesday and Wednesday night. They remain in 11th spot with 47 points from 32 games but Middlesbrough beat the team we play on Saturday, Millwall 3-1 at the New Den on Tuesday night to move into sixth spot on 53 points. The Clarets are therefore already six points off the play offs going into Saturday`s game and Boro too also have a one game advantage! Things are beginning to slip away slightly with just 14 games still to play this season. Of course, we could go on a good run and strongly be back in contention but it is now vital we don`t start dropping points at home to lowly opposition.
Millwall are struggling badly this season just managing to keep their noses ahead of the drop zone. They are currently in 19th spot on 31 points, just six points clear of the bottom three. They did have an impressive 3-2 away win against second-placed club, Southampton earlier this month in the FA Cup before being knocked out at home to Bolton in the next round but their league form has been pretty unimpressive. They have now gone five Championship games without a win picking up just two draws. They have won one and drawn one of their six last games on the road but with four defeats and poor home form leading to a low confidence level, Millwall could struggle to come away from Turf Moor with any points. Burnley will have to ensure they don`t if they want to keep up any hope of promotion but the Lions could battle hard to avoid dropping closer to the bottom three.
Burnley Team News:
On loan Millwall striker, Josh McQuoid will not be eligible to play against his parent club.
Junior Stanislas has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since the Middlesbrough game at the Riverside last month but could be close to a return.
There is no news of any fresh injury concerns following Friday night`s game away to Reading so Eddie Howe could have virtually the whole squad to choose from.
Player to watch: Chris McCann
McCann needs to play the captain`s game again in convincing fashion but also start to impress more on the pitch. It is some time since he has been named man of the match this season and this season he does not seem to have notched up so many opportunistic goals.
Millwall Team News:
Lions` manager, Kenny Jackett does not appear to have any fresh injury worries following the 3-1 home defeat to Middlesbrough in midweek. David Forde has been standing in for regular keeper, Steve Mildenhall. Mildenhall picked up an ankle injury in the recent FA Cup defeat at home to Bolton and news is awaited regarding his fitness to play against the Clarets.
Player to watch: Darius Henderson
Henderson is Millwall`s top goal scorer this season by some distance having notched up 17 goals so far in all competitions. The second highest is Liam Trotter with just six goals. Keeping Henderson in check would therefore appear to be the key to likely success!
The former Watford striker joined Millwall from Sheffield United in June 2011 for an undisclosed fee and since joining the Lions has been scoring at a rate of about one goal in every two games.
Team & Tactics:
Junior Stanislas could be close to being in contention again. The Millwall game was a target for the former West Ham winger after suffering a hamstring injury last month.
There is no news of any further injury concerns for Eddie Howe and we could expect a similar sixteen to the one selected for the Royals game. Josh McQuoid though, on loan from Millwall will be unable to play against his parent club. Keith Treacy therefore could be in line for a recall unless one of the other strikers plays a wider role and/or Stanislas is fit to play.
Grant, Trippier, Edgar, Duff, Mee, Wallace, Marney, McCann, Treacy, Rodriguez, Austin.
Subs: Jensen, Easton, Bartley, Ings, Paterson (or Stanislas if fit)
We will have a new referee for this clash as far as the Clarets are concerned. West Sussex referee, David Phillips is in charge of his first match featuring Burnley. This season he has been quite prolific with his red cards handing out 8 in 22 games and has also notched up 65 yellows.
There is no doubt about it, if we are serious about reaching the play-offs then we simply have to win this Saturday. We are already six points adrift of the sixth placed club, Middlesbrough and have played a game more! Millwall are struggling and have not won in five league games and they come to Turf Moor with confidence low having been beaten yet again at home in midweek this time 3-1 by Middlesbrough. They have not won at home now in five matches although have picked up a couple of draws. We should not be struggling against sides like Millwall and providing we play like we did against Reading at the Madejski in our last match, despite losing 1-0, we should be far too strong for the Lions. The Clarets will also be well-rested having not played since last Friday whereas Millwall were in action and losing on Tuesday night. 3-0 Clarets and another double clocked up!
A trip to Vicarage Road on Saturday 3rd March will see the Clarets face up to Watford. Kick-Off: 3pm