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Happy New Year, Clarets Hope to Owl!

Sheffield Wednesday

New Year's Day, Tuesday 1st January 2013


Burnley travel to Hillsborough on New Year`s Day, hoping to beat a struggling but improved Sheffield Wednesday side and get 2013 off with a bang.

The Pre-amble:

The Clarets kick off 2013 with a New Year`s Day visit to Hillsborough and they will be hoping to return to winning ways and get the New Year off to a good start against a struggling Sheffield Wednesday side. It was a poor game at home to Leicester City on Saturday following the Boxing Day win against Derby County at Turf Moor. We had an ideal chance to move into the Top 10 and move to within a point of the play-offs against the Foxes but fluffed it going down 1-0 in a disappointing performance. Although we remained in 13th spot we lost further ground on the promotion chasing pack and we are now seven points behind the sixth-placed club Watford, who also have a game in hand. If we retain any hopes of reaching the play-offs, we have to start playing with some consistency and get some back-to-back wins under our belt. We have not achieved that under Sean Dyche since his opening two games when we beat Wolves and Leeds United last November!

Under normal circumstances, you would expect our chances against Sheffield Wednesday to be pretty high considering they are fourth from bottom on 25 points just three clear of the drop zone. Dave Jones` men though have found a new lease of life in recent games and are now unbeaten in their last four. Not only that but they have also kept a clean sheet in all four games. The Owls also have the unnerving habit of picking up points against the Clarets and are unbeaten against Burnley in their last four games. They have also scored 11 goals against the Clarets in their last three. It was a six goal thriller in the reverse fixture at Turf Moor earlier in the season but sadly the six goals were shared in a 3-3 draw despite a hat-trick from Charlie Austin. Austin of course is a doubt for Tuesday`s clash so our task could be even greater. Although Wednesday won their last home game 2-0 after beating Charlton earlier this month, their form at Hillsborough is not that impressive with four defeats out of their last six games on home soil so we shall have to hope we can halt the Owls recent momentum!

Sheffield Wednesday Team News:

Owls gaffer, Dave Jones has two main injury concerns. Striker Jay Bothroyd (ankle) and midfielder Jose Semedo (knee) remain doubtful for Tuesday's game. His attacking options though could be boosted with Chris O'Grady, Mamady Sidibe and winger Jermaine Johnson all in contention for a recall.

Player to watch: Chris Kirkland

The keeper at the moment seems to be the man to beat with Wednesday having now gone four games without conceding a goal. The 31 year old England International joined the Owls from Wigan in May 2012 and was immediately made first-choice keeper.

Burnley Team News:

The biggest concern for Sean Dyche will be leading goal-scorer, Charlie Austin. He passed a late fitness test ahead of the Leicester game at Turf Moor on Saturday only to break down again seven minutes into the match with a recurring gluteal problem. It remains to be seen too if Junior Stanislas is back in contention following a hamstring injury. Ben Mee remains sidelined with a medial knee ligament injury.

Player to watch: Keith Treacy

Treacy has fought his way back into favour under Sean Dyche and started his first game for the Clarets since February 2012 on Saturday against Leicester. He of course spent the latter part of last season on loan to our opponents so it will be interesting to see if he turns the screw against his former team mates. He played seven times for the Owls last season scoring one goal before returning to his parent club.

Team & Tactics:

Surely if Austin is still sidelined, Dyche will give Sam Vokes a chance this time instead of keeping him on the bench and playing Paterson? We shall have to wait and see. If Austin is not fit enough to play, I would expect a similar starting eleven to Saturday although do hope this time we can see how well Vokes and Ings link up from the start. Of course if Stanislas is back in contention, we could see more radical changes and perhaps a move back to 4-1-4-1 with Stock in the holding midfield role. Dyche certainly seems to have options. I would like to see the following line-up, not that I expect to see it and think we should play a true 4-4-2 :

Grant, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Lafferty, Wallace, McCann, Marney, Treacy (or Stanislas if fit), Ings, Vokes (or Austin if fit)

Subs: Jensen, Edgar, Mills (and/or O`Neill), Stock, Bartley, Paterson.

Of course if Austin starts, then Vokes would make up the subs bench more than likely with Stanislas also in the eighteen if fit.

Ref Watch:

Lancashire referee, David Webb is in charge of this clash! He seems to be making a habit of refereeing Wars of the Roses games involving the Clarets despite hailing from the Red Rose side of the Pennines. His last game was Burnley`s 2-0 defeat away to Huddersfield back in August this year so Clarets fans will be hoping for a better result this time. Only one yellow card was shown that day and indeed so far this season Webb`s card tally has been pretty modest. In his 19 games so far in 2012-13 only two players have seen red with another 56 picking up yellow cards.

Match Prediction:

Sheffield Wednesday would have to hit form at the wrong time! Burnley badly need to win to get any hopes of reaching the play-offs back on track but we now need to do it against a resurgent Owls who have not conceded a goal in any of their last four games. I guess it depends which team turns up and whether Austin is fit enough to play! We are so inconsistent anything could happen. We may have to settle for a point but we should be good enough to avoid defeat. Sod it, I will go with a narrow win for the Clarets 2-1!

Next Match:

We give the Championship a rest for a bit and won`t return until Saturday 12th January when we have a home game against high-flying Crystal Palace (Kick-Off: 3pm) In the mean time we have the little matter of the FA Cup third round tie! It`s a trip to the dreaded Oakwell on Saturday 5th January

Date:Monday December 31 2012
Time: 11:31AM


Come on lads, we need cheering up again after the misery of Saturday! 2013 our year? Let's hope so!!
31/12/2012 11:35:00
I would go with that back 5 and then a front 6 of Stock, Marney, McCann, Wallace, Vokes and Stan. I would consider Ings/Pato/Treacy for Stan if still injured. I would also rest Austin as he clearly needs to be fully fit before he starts again.
31/12/2012 13:02:00
I agree with leaving Charlie out VR - and would not include him for the FA Cup game ( I hope we get to see Charlie in a claret shirt again!) . My front 6 would read Stock, Marney, Mccann, Wallace, Ings, Vokes.
31/12/2012 13:41:00
This in the LT: 'Early indications suggest the former Swindon striker will at least miss tomorrow’s New Year’s Day game at Sheffield Wednesday and Saturday’s FA Cup third round tie at Barnsley, who sacked manager Keith Hill after a 3-1 home defeat to Blackburn Rovers left them bottom of the Championship. It is possible Austin could also be sidelined for the visit of Crystal Palace on January 12.'
31/12/2012 14:54:00
Some more interesting team news from the Vital Owls site-'Wednesday will be without defender Reda Johnson, who sits out the match through suspension for collecting five bookings. Joe Mattock could come in to replace Johnson, or Jeremy Helan could return to full-back despite his impressive performances in midfield if Jones opts against using Mattock. Jay Bothroyd looks to have played his last match for the Owls with QPR recalling him from his loan spell, although Jose Semedo has returned to full fitness and could be named in the squad. Jones may opt to tinker with his attacking option due to the frantic festive fixture schedule, with Mamady Sidibe no doubt chomping at the bit to return to action after Gary Madine started in the 0-0 draw at Huddersfield, although Chris O'Grady will also be keen for some match action.'
31/12/2012 15:58:00
I'm beginning to wonder if Dyche is the man to take us forward, even our win against Derby wasn't convincing and all the other games he's been in charge hasn't inspired me whatsoever. we can't go through another season saying "these aren't his players" as we have done with Laws and Howe. I stick by our manager and players and give them my 100% support but I'm starting to worry somewhat
31/12/2012 16:23:00
I am not sure it's totally down to Dyche! Perhaps we simply don't have the depth of quality or quantity in the squad we need. Many of Howe's signings have proved to be less than successful
31/12/2012 16:46:00
I am the other way TC. I have been generally impressed with SD and given time I think he will get it right. We have deserved more points than we have achieved against Rovers, Charlton and Brum - we are still creating chances, but just not taking them!
31/12/2012 17:01:00
Didn't know this either reported on Official BFC Site-'On-loan Manchester City midfielder Jeremy Helan looks set to be available despite being shown two yellow cards in the Owls` goalless draw at Huddersfield at the weekend.Helan was not sent off by referee Mick Russell and the FA are reportedly due to discuss the matter on Wednesday' Bizarre!! [Edited by turfmanphil]
31/12/2012 18:04:00
I'm content with Big Sean and don't think he has done too much wrong to date. That said I'd like to see Brian Stock in the team as he is a top quality player, though perhaps he lacks fitness which is why he doesn't seem to get 90 minutes too often.
31/12/2012 19:25:00
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