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Portsmouth vs. Burnley

Fratton Park

Saturday 31st March 2012

3pm

Clarets Pride at Stake in Portsmouth

Burnley make the long journey down to the Hampshire coast today to play second-from-bottom club Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

The Pre-amble:

It is very difficult these days for Clarets fans to raise their spirits. The season effectively over and the play-offs dream shattered, Burnley have not won a game now in seven attempts and they are joint bottom of the 'form' table, and on the longest current winless sequence in the division.

Looking back, you just wonder if the defeat at Reading took a lot out of the side considering we played probably our best game of the season without picking up a point. Had we won that game, we might now still be challenging strongly for a play-offs spot but since that time we have only managed three draws and played some pretty dismal football at times.

We have also dropped steadily down the table and we are currently 16th on 50 points, 12 points behind sixth placed club, Middlesbrough with a game in hand. If we finish there or thereabouts it will have been a very disappointing season and we have just eight games left to try and improve our position and finish as high as possible in the table.

I don`t think you would have been able to find one Clarets fan, that day at Wembley back in May 2009 who would have predicted Burnley would be in this position three seasons later. The relegation, the Coyle departure, the Laws debacle and the rebuilding and so-called transition have taken their toll, to the extent we are not much further forward now than we were at the time Cotterill left. We are still pleading poverty and the parachute payments are dwindling. There could be bleak times ahead at Turf Moor unless the Board backs the gaffer in the summer and we can build an effective squad with the depth and quality we need to mount a proper promotion challenge.

That`s for the future though. We still have to play this season out starting with struggling Portsmouth at Fratton Park today (Saturday). The financial problems off the pitch and Portsmouth's administration predicament for the second season running have been well documented. The club`s financial situation has threatened Pompey`s very existence. If they survive that they still face a relegation battle to stay in the Championship after being docked ten points for once again going into administration. Pompey are currently second from bottom three points away from safety. So will a side effectively only playing for pride be able to beat a team fighting for their Championship lives? We have to hope so. Clarets fans need some cheering up and another defeat is unthinkable against a club such as Portsmouth. If Michael Appleton`s men complete the double over the Clarets this season following their 1-0 win at Turf Moor back in December it will certainly be a sobering thought.

The financial situation at Fratton Park has also affected the depth of quality in the squad with a number of key players being forced out on loan until the end of the season to save cash. Erik Huseklepp, Liam Lawrence, Stephen Henderson and Hayden Mullins have all secured loan deals. By picking up cash from these loan fees and implementing a salary cut, Portsmouth have managed to hold onto some of their key players though including Joel Ward and Jason Pearce. They have also brought in Rams striker, Chris Maguire on a month-long emergency loan. Since his arrival at the start of the month the former Aberdeen forward has scored twice in five appearances.

Pompey`s form of late despite their lowly position has not been too bad either especially at home. They have won two and drawn one of their last six games whilst at Fratton Park they are undefeated in three matches. In their last two home games, play-offs and promotion chasing hopefuls, Birmingham (4-1) and Hull City (2-0) have both been sent packing at Fratton Park. Portsmouth surprisingly are also one of the three clubs in the Championship remaining who have not been defeated by more than two goals all season along with Burnley and Reading. Let`s hope if that changes on Saturday it won`t be at the expense of the Clarets.

Come on you Clarets, play with that pride and stick another nail in Pompey`s coffin!

Portsmouth Team News:

Portsmouth manager Michael Appleton looks set to name an unchanged side after coming through the game against Hull at Fratton Park in midweek with no new injury concerns.

Italian forward Luca Scapuzzi though will be hoping to make his full debut after starting on the bench for Pompey`s last two games.

Although Appleton only has a small squad to choose from, he still seems to avoid selecting established players like Kanu and Benjani..

Player to watch: David Norris

31 year old midfielder, David Norris is currently Pompey`s joint highest scorer this season with six goals; an honour he shares with Erik Huseklepp who is now out on loan to Birmingham.

It was a stoppage-time goal from Norris that secured all three points for Portsmouth at Turf Moor in December.

Norris signed for Portsmouth on a free transfer in June 2011 after turning down a new two year deal with Ipswich

Burnley Team News:

Eddie Howe looks likely to be without top goal-scorer, Jay Rodriguez again. He missed the last game with a groin injury and looks set to be rested. Daniel Lafferty though could be set for a return at left back.

Player to watch: Ross Wallace

He seems to have gone-off-the-boil of late despite a much better season this time round compared to 2010-11. Wallace went through a period where he looked very impressive picking up a number of man of the match awards but that seems like ages ago now. It would be nice to see him return to his earlier form.

Team & Tactics

With Jay Rodriguez still struggling with a groin problem Howe could be tempted to name an unchanged sixteen for the Pompey clash.

The official site match preview though suggests Lafferty could make a return so I would be tempted to select him in my starting eleven at left back with Ben Mee back on the bench. Will Howe also be tempted to perhaps blood some of the young guns with our season now effectively over? He did name Steven Hewitt on the bench against West Ham at Turf Moor last Saturday but he remained warming it! I suspect Howe will play safe and stick with his regular choices.

The line-up then could look something like this:

Grant, Trippier, Duff, Edgar, Lafferty, Wallace, McCann, Marney, Bartley, Ings, Paterson

Substitutes: Jensen, Mee, Stanislas, McQuoid, Austin

Ref Watch:

Former Premier League referee, Stuart Atwell from Warwickshire last featured in a game involving the Clarets in the corresponding fixture against Portsmouth at Fratton Park last season and we beat Pompey that day 2-1! That will hopefully be a good omen with the same referee once again in charge this season. He handed out just two yellow cards in the fixture last season and had a generally good game. This season, in his 25 games so far, he has shown red five times and handed out 86 yellows. Atwell is certainly a controversial figure despite such a relatively short-career and fast-tracking. He seems to be remembered mainly for his gaffes; gaffes which ultimately led to demotion from the Select Group Referees and loss of his Premier League status. He will probably be most remembered for awarding the goal-that-wasn`t in the Watford v Reading game but the straw that broke the camel`s back came when he sent off Bolton`s Gary Cahill now of course with Chelsea.

Match Prediction:

Anything other than a win against such a struggling side would be unthinkable but I fear that a defeat could be on the cards. We look low on confidence and fighting spirit at times. 2-0 to Pompey but I so much hope I am wrong and we can avoid the embarrassment.

Next Match:

The Clarets now play three times in nine days

The rearranged game at home to Birmingham takes place next week on the night of Tuesday 3rd April (Kick-Off 7:45pm) ahead of the Easter break. It won`t be a break for the Clarets though since they will then face Brighton at Turf Moor on Good Friday (Kick Off 3pm) before a trip to the Keepmoat to play Doncaster Rovers on Easter Monday (Kick-Off 3pm)




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The Journalist

Writer: turfmanphil Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday March 31 2012

Time: 9:27AM

Your Comments

Trying to drum up some enthusiasm after this miserable season and failing badly.
turfmanphil
You talk like you are some kind of super club, lol clearly you think your better than you actually are.
nobby1954
We SHOULD be better than we actually are and if this Board had any bottle and balls we would be! By the way that doesn't mean replicating the disaster at Pompey before anyone draws the inevitable boring but irrelevant comparison.
turfmanphil
Give Pompey their ten points back and they are still way behind the Clarets. A win here and a good Easter will put us firmly in the top half of the table. Still hoping we can do it as a good final position this season will give us confidence ahead of next season for a real promotion bid with the financial support of the Board!!!!
cornwallclaret
Burnley: Grant Trippier Edgar Duff Mee Wallace Marney McCann Bartley Ings Paterson Subs: Jensen Austin McQuoid Stanislas Howieson
turfmanphil
Pompey unchanged from Hull game in midweek
turfmanphil
Daniel Lafferty still suffering from hamstring injury and new pro 17 year old Cameron Howieson wears shirt 32
turfmanphil
Trippier from Marney corner dummied by Edgar! 1-0 Clarets 15 minutes! Get in
turfmanphil
Bloody hell, equaliser within three minutes,Norris 19 minutes :-(
turfmanphil
We are simply shocking, Pompey by far the better team with about 60% possession. We are just not at the races, Mee and Edgar being crucified and our passing game is non-existent. FFS Howe sort it! Have to say though this referee is terrible 1-1 at half-time and now Burnley have to regroup at the break.
turfmanphil
We basically did nothing after they got the equaliser although we looked a little sharper in last few minutes of half. Got to try Plan B in second half if Howe has any clue what to do.
turfmanphil
I think we will play much better in the second half (famous last words)
Grimsby Claret
Flaming hell 2-1 Burnley in 46th minute-first goal for Danny Ings.Header from Edgar cross!!
turfmanphil
Damn Pato pulls up,looks like another hamstring! Hobbling off, just cant seem to shake off being injury prone,Austin on
turfmanphil
Atwell should be chucked out. Totally incompetent prat!!
turfmanphil
Ben Mee gone down injured, replaced by McQuoid and Wallace goes to left back. Just shows what a pathetic squad we have with not enough depth. Wallace was making all the difference in the hole and no defensive cover on bench
turfmanphil
Austin 3-1 from a Wallace delivery!! What a strange game!! lol
turfmanphil
Should win this Now.
Grimsby Claret
4-1 Austin again, in added time! 50th career goal
turfmanphil
We must have now 1-4
Grimsby Claret
5-1 Austin hattrick
turfmanphil
Wow, 5-1 Austin hat trick.
Grimsby Claret
Sensational result. Ings man of match probably but what a star Austin!! First time Pompey lost by more than two goals all season. What a turnaround from shocking to unbelievably good!!
turfmanphil
Tails up now. Results from two home and one away, all very winnable, should show a remarkable change in our league position.
cornwallclaret
I was looking on the BBC & Claret websites saying Hayieson? Was that just a typo or is that some other kid i've never heard of? I had to do shopping duties when the game was on on the way back I thought 2-1/3-1 to them lol I choose the wrong team 3-1 up! I wasn't expecting that!
ruane
'miserable season' 'failing badly' - your constant negativity is demoralising. Hope the team and management don't read it. I think Howe has a lot more clue than you do. This site is so depressing. Bye
ozjean
It was a typo ruane. Should have read Howieson. Cameron Howieson 17 year old New Zealander just signed a pro deal
turfmanphil
Lets all pretend everything is marvellous then!!
turfmanphil
Just got back from the game. We certainly weren't shocking in the first-half though Pompey definitely could have been two or three ahead given the amount of opportunities they created down our left flank. However, we held on and to be honest a 5-1 win speaks for itself. Ings my MoM for his effort but of course Austin will take the headlines for his hat-trick and bizarre man-bra.
RickersTwickers
Pompey 2 or 3 ahead? That surely would have been shocking RT? Clarets Player certainly described the defence as shocking in first half but that all obviously changed in second. Let's not get carried away though we are still 16th and that is just not good enough. The 5-1 win might though just have got us off bottom of the 'form' table so I hope ozjean's belief that Howe knows more than me begins to bear fruit sooner rather than later.
turfmanphil
Pompey certainly had the better of the first half but I just think they were on top - that doesn't make us shocking in my view. I'm happy with the win and, long term, think that Austin and Ings might just be a combination that works. And I'm right behind Eddie Howe too, always have been.
RickersTwickers
Flipping Brighton now 6th. Brighton??? Burnley ten points behind them with a game in hand. Blackpool beat Saints 3-0 in late game to go 5th on goal difference also on 63 points from 40 games. Still got to play both of those
turfmanphil
I think the jury is still very much out in relation to Howe. We all want him to succeed and I hope he does but there have been one too many games this season when his judgement and tactics have been questionable. Some on here have even suggested things may have been better under Brian Laws now that is scary!! Well, I think the bottom line is, Howe now has one more season to prove himself but it will be a fine balance. I do not believe the current squad,probably depleted even more in the summer, is good enough to mount a convincing promotion campaign so it will all depend once again on how much money the Board releases to build the squad. Howe sadly is already peddling the standard club line that we cant push the boat out! Fine if you want to remain in midtable mediocrity then dont push the boat out. The only time we did push the boat out we got promoted and its been a disaster ever since because we didn't repeat the exercise
turfmanphil
The danger with being "constantly" negative (as the accusation says , above) is that you too easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Most clubs don't do as well as their fans would like, year-on-year, year after year. I struggle to remain positive at times, but keep the faith, Phil! ;-)
whentheballmoves
Fed up with keeping the faith,it never works mate! The club will stagnate until we try summat different..simple as really!
turfmanphil
Most enjoyable day, with goals flying in right in front of me at the end... Shame about Charlie completing his hat-trick, though, as I had a 3 goal Burnley win in the VB Prediction League, and if the ref had blown sooner I would have picked up an extra point. Riding the trains afterwards was all a bit sad, with Pompey suffering their worst defeat of the season on the day their supporter's trust were handing out 'our club or no club' leaflets and asking for fan investors. The prevailing view on the street was that their survival prospects are now extremely bleak, with relegation barely registering on their list of things to worry about. So it felt wrong to gloat till the train got as far as Southampton, when I could finally show my colours and start beaming. The Pompey fans in the stadium were sensational, till 3-1 when they started leaving in numbers. The write-up on the Bfc official site pretty much mirrors how I saw it.
Couch Potato
Agree couch. Its all too easy to have seen us ending up in the same state if a few things hadn't gome our way in the past. Still - nice result and I'm still in the half full camp.
AndyHo
perhaps Ozjean and Co think 16th in the league after this win is good enough? throw in a sprinkle of le'ts say 100M over the last few years and we should all be satisfied with the "development" of this squad eh ???? Again which planet are these people from ................. WHOLLY TOTALLY AND UTTERLY UNACCEPTABLE IN EVERY WAY One win don't change much for me, Brian Laws got the Spanish Arches and we where 7th at the time what are we saying as long as we stay up we did well???.... Oh dear Oh dear ....... ambition less or what...... much to do I am afraid we have a very very average squad
hollinsclaret
Everybody is entitled to their opinion though HC. I am not one however to accept the rose-tinted, everything is wonderful 'dressed-up as positivity' stance of some, most notably of course the Official Site. If folk want to be told good things instead of debate concerns and opinions of others they can always get their comfort over there or adopt the ostrich mentality! I agree totally with your comments though HC
turfmanphil
Debate is great.
Couch Potato
 

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