Date:Thursday December 5 2013
Saturday 7th December 2013
Burnley, with no win in five league games will be keen to get their automatic promotion hopes back on track this Saturday when they face bottom club Barnsley at Turf Moor.
It is a sign of the times that fans are disappointed we are only third and no longer top after defeat at Huddersfield last Saturday followed by a disappointing draw against Watford at Turf Moor on Tuesday night. Only third? Hells bells who wouldn`t have taken that at this stage of the season before 2013-14 kicked off? The fact remains though we have not won in six games if you also count the Capital One Cup defeat at home to West Ham and if ever a team looks to be wobbling this could be the Clarets at the moment. The 0-0 draw against the Hornets on Tuesday night also highlighted the problems we have in terms of squad depth. The team clearly struggled in the absence of the injured Danny Ings and Dean Marney and suspended Michael Duff with few options on the bench too after Dyche was forced to name three young gun development players and change tactics and formation. Ings missed his first game of the season after picking up an ankle knock against the Terriers last Saturday and all Clarets will be hoping he will be fit enough to return on Saturday. Somehow we quickly have to get back on track in order to keep both Leicester and QPR in our sights. The top and second placed clubs are now both on 38 points, two points clear of the Clarets in third. We have the ideal chance on Saturday to start to reclaim that top spot. Manager less, bottom club, Barnsley are the visitors to Turf Moor.
The Tykes recently sacked their manager, David Flitcroft after less than a year in charge at Oakwell with the club clearly struggling at the wrong end of the table. At the time, Barnsley had just lost 3-0 at home to Birmingham and were now bottom of the Championship, with the worst defensive record in the league. A familiar face to Clarets fans, Micky Mellon assistant manager at Oakwell was placed in caretaker charge alongside development coach Paul Heckingbottom. In their first game in charge last Saturday, the Tykes responded well winning 2-1 away to Brighton and they will now be hoping for their first back-to-back win against the Clarets on Saturday. They continue to proper up the league though having amassed just 14 points from 18 games.
Anxious Burnley fans await news on the injured Danny Ings. The striker was clearly missed against Watford on Tuesday night and everybody will be hoping his ankle injury recovers in time for the Barnsley clash.
The Clarets have also clearly missed Dean Marney in the heart of midfield. He has been absent for the last three games suffering from a troublesome groin injury. New is awaited on his recovery.
Our only other confirmed injury is to Ross Wallace. He continues to recover from surgery to fix a 'wear and tear` injury to his knee but he is not expected to feature until the New Year.
Michael Duff though will be back in contention after sitting out an automatic one match ban on Tuesday night following his sending off for a second bookable offence in the previous game away to Huddersfield.
His role could be crucial on Tuesday night especially if Danny Ings is still injured. He was our lone striker against Watford and he never really got the service he required. Can Sam Vokes play the target man role with no other striker to support him? Let`s hope we don`t have to find out on Saturday.
Chris O` Grady is Barnsley`s leading goal scorer this season with seven goals but he has missed the last three games suffering from a calf injury.
Barnsley are officially the leakiest side in the division and are currently suffering a horrendous goal difference of minus eighteen; the worst in the Championship by some distance. One player clearly under pressure must be England International keeper, Jack Butland. The on-loan 20 year old keeper must be dreading every game and the Clarets will be hoping to exploit the weakness in the Tykes defence and give the former Birmingham City stopper more to worry about. He is probably wishing he was back at his parent club, Stoke City. Butland signed a four-and-a-half-year contract with Premier League club Stoke City in January 2013 but as part of the deal, he returned to Championship side, Birmingham City on loan for the remainder of the season. Finding himself third choice keeper behind Stoke`s Asmir Begovic and Thomas Sorensen at the start of 2013-14 he joined Championship club Barnsley on a three-month emergency loan in September this year.
Sean Dyche`s team, tactics and formation could all revolve around the fitness of both Danny Ings and Dean Marney. If Ings is available then obviously we can expect a 4-4-2 line-up. Ryan Noble the other recognised striker in the squad was not even in the eighteen on Tuesday night with Dyche opting to play 4-1-4-1 so if Ings is still unfit we can expect a similar line-up with Scott Arfield playing just behind Sam Vokes in midfield and Brian Stock playing the anchor role. That could all change though if Dean Marney is fit enough to play. We have missed his energy in the engine room and I would expect him to play alongside David Jones in centre midfield if he recovers in time from the groin injury. Kevin Long, deputising for the suspended Michael Duff had a pretty good game in the centre of defence against Watford on Tuesday night but probably didn`t do enough to keep Duff sidelined against Barnsley.
It is difficult to predict the line-up on Saturday with so many options depending on the fitness of two key players. Let`s be positive and assume both Marney and Ings are fit enough to start. If so the line-up will look something like this:
Heaton, Trippier, Shackell, Duff, Mee, Stanislas, Marney, Jones, Arfield, Ings, Vokes
Subs: Cisak, Lafferty, Long, Edgar, Treacy, Kightly, Hewitt
Nottinghamshire referee, James Adcock will be the man in charge on Saturday. This will be his third game involving the Clarets, the last being the 3-1 home win against Bristol City last season.4 yellow cards were shown that day back in April this year. In his 13 games so far this season, he has sent-off three players and shown yellow cards to another 44.
Make no mistake about this one, there is no room for complacency and it is vital we take all three points if we are serious at regaining the top spot before Christmas. A comprehensive win would be a great boost head of the tricky game at Leicester a week later. It has to be at least 3-0!
It`s the big top of the table clash for the Clarets on Saturday 14th December and it`s an early kick off at 12:15pm so that Sky Sports can cover this crucial game live! Yes, Burnley, currently 3rd in the table travel to the King Power Stadium to play current leaders, Leicester City.
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Date:Thursday December 5 2013
Burnley Win But No Blackpool Rock! (Saturday April 19 2014)
Burnley Aim For Easter Eggstacy By The Seaside (Friday April 18 2014)
Rumour Mill-How Loe Can You Get? (Tuesday April 15 2014)
Just the Ticket-And Finally Reading! (Monday April 14 2014)
Five Young Pros In, Seven Out! (Monday April 14 2014)
How Did We Lose to Boro? (Monday April 14 2014)
Will the Big Day on Saturday Get Bigger? (Friday April 11 2014)
Rare Oakwell Win Moves Burnley Ever Closer! (Wednesday April 9 2014)
Barnsley for the Burnley Chop at Oakwell? (Monday April 7 2014)
Massive, Massive Point at Vicarage Road! (Sunday April 6 2014)
|1. Leicester City||43||28||9||6||+36||93|
|3. Derby County||43||23||9||11||+29||78|
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