Date:Thursday December 19 2013
Saturday 21st December 2013
Burnley will do themselves a big favour if they can beat local rivals Blackpool in the derby game at Turf Moor this Saturday. Victory would see them go back on top if QPR are unable to beat third-placed Leicester at home.
Despite a well-earned, resilient 1-1 draw against high-flying Leicester in the King Power Stadium last Saturday, the Clarets lost their place at the top of the Championship following QPR`s 2-0 away win at Blackpool. The results at the weekend mean QPR are now two points clear of Burnley who dropped to second place with 40 points from 20 games. The Rs though face a tough game at home against Leicester on Saturday and Burnley will know what they have to do come the 3pm kick-off. The QPR match is being covered live by Sky Sports and kicks-off early at 12:15pm. In somewhat of a co-incidence the top two teams have swapped opposition this weekend with Blackpool the visitors to Turf Moor. If the Foxes can avoid defeat on Saturday, the Clarets will know that a win against the Tangerines would guarantee they would go back on top of the table in view of our better goal difference compared to QPR.
Blackpool have been reeling recently with three defeats on the bounce and a host of players having been sent off. The 5-1 tonking by in-form Derby recently at Pride Park seems to have taken the stuffing out of them and it is vital the Clarets take advantage and try and get back on top of the Championship table. Discipline seems to be a problem all round at Bloomfield Road these days. Blackpool manager Paul Ince only recently returned to the touchline after completing a five-match stadium ban relating to his actions after a victory at Bournemouth in September, including one of violent conduct. In the 1-0 defeat away to struggling club Yeovil earlier this month, three Blackpool players were sent off with Kirk Broadfoot, Gary MacKenzie and Ricardo Fuller all seeing red; the latter picking up a straight red. Even more bizarrely another two were sent off in the next game away to Derby County. Neal Bishop (straight red) and Angel Martinez (second bookable offence) both had an early bath. The necessary changes to the team with so many suspended has no doubt affected Blackpool`s play and they endured their third defeat on the trot against QPR last Saturday denting their hopes of reaching the play-offs. The Tangerines are now just outside the play-offs in 9th spot with 31 points, two points behind sixth placed Leeds and nine behind the Clarets.
Danny Ings seems to have been struggling a little bit with an ankle injury in recent times but did play and score in our gruelling 1-1 draw at Leicester last Saturday. He looks likely to start again against Blackpool and the gaffer has been keen to allay any fears in that department. Speaking recently about Ings fitness he said:
"It`s not bad at all. He`s one of the most honest kids I`ve worked with. He`s a fantastic young man. He`s had a minor injury and it`s one that needs care and attention, like any other injury.
"It`s nothing major, it`s good quality maintenance from the physios and sports science staff."
Ross Wallace is still sidelined until probably January following his surgery a few months back to correct a 'wear and tear` injury in his knee.
Other than that Dyche does not appear to have any additional injury problems and there are no suspensions to worry about.
Marney has been given positive endorsement by Sean Dyche this week who also disputed he was one of our unsung heros!
"He`s not unsung for us," Dyche said.
"From the outside looking in maybe, but not from our way of thinking.
"We`ve enjoyed what Deano offers us, he`s a good character and he`s a very good player.
"We want good players at this club and we want them to have the freedom to perform and he`s shown really good signs of that.
"He came back flying in pre-season. We had a chat at the end of last season with all the players and I`m pleased to say they all responded.
"Dean was a shining example of that. From day one he looked absolutely on top of himself physically and mentally and ready to go."
His contribution to the side is clearly evident especially when you also note that two of Burnley`s three defeats this season have come when the former Hull man was absent! There is no doubt he is a key player in our engine room and David Jones also seems to do better with Deano for company in centre midfield. He could be key against Blackpool this Saturday.
With the recent flurry of red cards in the Blackpool team, it is difficult for some to know who is still suspended and who not. A lot were only suspended for one game after picking up a second yellow and some e.g. Broadfoot have already returned or completed their one match ban against QPR. The Seasiders will certainly be without 28-year-old Scottish centre-back Gary MacKenzie though, not only was he one of three players sent off in the 1-0 defeat at Yeovil on the 3rd December but he also picked up a hip injury and will be sidelined for a few weeks. Striker, Ricardo Fuller sits out the third of his three match ban after being dismissed for violent conduct for head butting Yeovil`s Luke Ayling. Midfielder, Neal Bishop however only picked up a one match ban after being given a straight red against Derby County for bringing down Simon Dawkins who was through on goal to concede a penalty. He is now available again after sitting out the QPR game. Midfielder, Angel Martinez however picked up a two match ban in the Derby game for his second bookable offence since he already had a red card to his name this season and he too will now be sidelined against the Clarets.
Paul Ince is certainly keen to keep his son on Blackpool`s books. Blackpool have offered a new deal to Tom Ince, although Chairman Karl Oyston says the club are expecting more interest in the 21 year old winger in January. Ince who rejected a £8m move to Cardiff in July is out of contract at the end of the season and will be able to sign a pre-contract agreement with a non-English club in January. Ajax have been linked but Oyston will no doubt try everything he can to retain the services of their leading goal-scorer. Ince has six goals to his name so far this season and has caught the eye of a number of Premier League clubs in the past including Liverpool.
The selection again looks straightforward and we can fully expect the same eighteen that faced Leicester in the King Power Stadium last Saturday.
Heaton, Trippier, Shackell, Duff, Mee, Kightly, Marney, Jones, Arfield, Ings, Vokes
Subs: Cisak, Lafferty, Long, Edgar, Stock, Treacy, Stanislas
Wiltshire referee, Roger East will be in charge of this local derby. The official has Premier League status and so far this season no player has been sent off by him in 12 games although 35 have seen yellow! The last time he was in charge of a game involving the Clarets was earlier this season when we beat Doncaster Rovers 2-0 at the Keepmoat back in October. Three players picked up yellow cards that day.
In terms of relative form, Burnley should be able to secure victory in this one but anything can happen in derby games. I will however go with a 2-0 Burnley win.
It will be the Boxing Day clash at the Riverside next up. The Clarets will play Middlesbrough away on Boxing Day, Thursday 26th December (3pm Kick-Off) and will then bring the football year to an end with a visit to Wigan Athletic on Sunday 29th December 2013 (3pm Kick-Off)
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Date:Thursday December 19 2013
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