FA Cup and Back to Avoiding Oakwell Hell!
Saturday 5th January 2013
The Clarets travel to the dreaded Oakwell on Saturday for the second time this season. This time they hope to beat a struggling manager-less Barnsley side and progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup
Burnley have another Yorkshire adventure this Saturday with a visit to Oakwell for the second time this season. The Clarets will be buoyed up by their Championship win at Hillsborough on New Year`s Day but now they have to turn their attention to the FA Cup third round hoping to beat a struggling Barnsley side and progress to the fourth round stage. The Tykes have had a torrid season and currently sit firmly at the bottom of the Championship table four points adrift of safety and without a manager having recently sacked Keith Hill. Barnsley have named Hill`s assistant David Flitcroft as their caretaker manager and no new appointment looks set to be announced by Saturday. Oakwell is not a place that has been kind to the Clarets over the years no matter what the relative form of the two teams at the time! We had a rare win there on Boxing Day 2010 when we came away with a 2-1 victory giving Brian Laws a short stay of execution but before that you would have to go back to 1932 for the last time we won at Oakwell. We lost 2-0 on this ground last season and scraped a poor 1-1 draw back in November this season. Sean Dyche will be hoping for a vastly improved performance this time round against the Championship whipping boys but anything can happen in the FA Cup, certainly at Oakwell and all bets are off especially since the Clarets will be without Charlie Austin and potentially other injured first-team players.
Barnsley Team News:
29 year old striker, Marcus Tudgay who had been on loan from Nottingham Forest has broken his collarbone and will be out for six to eight weeks. He suffered the injury during the Tykes' match with Blackburn last Saturday. His loan contract however expired on the 3rd January in any case. There have been no reports of a contract extension and he is currently back at his parent club for treatment.
Former Barnsley boss Keith Hill also confirmed last month that Egyptian striker Mido was set to leave the club. The 29-year-old former Tottenham, Middlesbrough, Wigan and West Ham player joined the Tykes in the summer but injury and lack of fitness restricted him to only one appearance this season.
Player to watch: Luke Steele
The hapless goalkeeper has conceded just over 2 goals per game on average in the last seven matches and the last time he helped Barnsley get a point at home was annoyingly against the Clarets in the 1-1 draw back in November. The former West Brom keeper, now 28 signed permanently for the Tykes in May 2008 following a loan spell and initially penned a one year contract.
Burnley Team News:
Sean Dyche has a number of injury concerns. We already know Charlie Austin will not be fit enough to play (gluteal/hamstring injury) and that Ben Mee remains sidelined with a medial knee ligament injury. Junior Stanislas has also been out of contention for the last three games with a hamstring injury. He is unlikely to be ready for the Tykes clash but his rehabilitation is understood to be going well. Dean Marney also failed to make the eighteen against Sheffield Wednesday on New Year`s Day after picking up a thigh injury in the Leicester game last Saturday. Dyche`s injury headache got even worse in the Owls game. Chris McCann (hamstring) and Martin Paterson (thigh) were taken off as a precaution at Hillsborough and they are now doubtful for Oakwell. You can judge their chances of playing by reading between the lines of Sean Dyche`s comments on the injury situation. On the Pato and McCann injuries, he does not believe them to be too serious saying:
"We`re not thinking they`re that serious.
"Obviously we don`t want to tempt fate, but we got Pato and Macca off quite quickly, and they came off themselves quite quickly.
"It`s one of the things I`ve talked about, heroes are not for Christmas, they`re for one-offs, a cup final at the end of the season, but not mid-season, you need to get them off so they heal quick and you can get them back out there.
"I`m pleased to say they got off quickly, and we`ll find out more before the weekend.
"Pato had a problem with his thigh, Macca his hamstring and Stocky had a bit of cramp, more than anything, as the pitch was indifferent."
Although Stock was forced off late on with cramp it is understood he will be available at Oakwell. Talking about the Marney situation, Dyche said :
"Dean is not an overly serious one either and we are hoping that will settle down quickly."
Player to watch: Sam Vokes
If Vokes wants to take advantage of the Austin situation, he could do himself a big favour by scoring a goal or three against Barnsley on Saturday. He is keen to become a regular starter but it`s been difficult for him with Austin in such fine form. Now he has the chance to prove his worth and at least give Dyche something to think about once Austin returns to full fitness.
Team & Tactics:
With so many injuries, Dyche might be forced into 'squad rotation` whether he likes it or not. Against lowly Barnsley, would he risk giving a few of the fringe players a run out as well? Brain Jensen has patiently warmed the bench waiting for a chance; might he get one or two in the FA Cup? It is of course difficult to predict either a team or formation with so many injury doubts. I am going to select a team based on the worse scenario. We know Austin, Mee and Stanislas will be out of contention so let`s also assume Pato, McCann and Marney fail to make it. How would this line up grab you?
Jensen, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Lafferty, Stock, Wallace, Edgar, Bartley, Treacy, Vokes
Subs: Grant, O`Neill, Long, Ings plus three young guns
There is also a remote possibility that new winger, Dane Richards could feature having officially signed for the club on January 1st but that would depend on whether he gets international clearance in time.
Paul Tierney is in charge of this War of the Roses clash. The Lancashire (?) referee has been the man in the middle for 20 games so far this season and he has handed out a modest 43 yellow cards sending just two players off the pitch. This will be the first time he has been involved in a Clarets game.
Relative form suggests Burnley should be able to progress to the next round with some ease but this is Oakwell and the Clarets face a number of injury problems. We played poorly in the recent Championship fixture and would have to play much better to be assured of victory. I`ll stick my neck out and go for a 2-0 win on the simple basis of Law of Averages!
Burnley return to Championship duty on Saturday 12th January with a tricky home game against 3rd placed promotion-chasing Crystal Palace. (Kick-Off: 3pm)