Date:Monday April 23 2007
23rd April 07
The Clarets will be wanting to impress in front of the Sky cameras tonight as the lads take on play-offs contenders, West Bromwich Albion at Turf Moor.
Burnley have nothing to play for but pride really, especially in front of the Sky cameras although Steve Cotterill has said he wants to at least finish on 60-63 points, equalling or bettering our best post-Digital fiasco season in 2004/5. We are currently 16th on 54 points with WBA and Coventry to play at home. We also have a tricky away match against top club Sunderland away this Friday night sandwiched between the two (another match on Sky within five days)
West Brom on the other hand will still fancy their chances of reaching the play offs and in theory should be up for this more with more to gain. They are currently fifth on 70 points but its fairly tight up there with 10 clubs realistically in with a chance of promotion or reaching the play-offs.
The Baggies form of late has been inconsistent, they have lost their last two home matches but worryingly for us, won their last two away games!
However, our form has also been impressive of late, especially at home and we have scored 10 goals whilst conceding only one in the last six matches. Thats five clean sheets in total with 10 points out of 12 collected from our last four home matches with eight goals and zero conceded. Lets hope our form continues tonight
The two injured players Mahon and Foster have returned to training this week but it's not expected to see any of them feature tonight. The gaffer appears to be able to select from any of the remaining squad with no additional injuries from our last match against Norwich. There are no suspensions to worry about either. Paul McVeigh, loaned from Norwich couldn't play in that match under the loan agreement and he was replaced by Ade Akinbiyi. Ade, has been under par since re-signing for the Clarets in Jan 07 but he was on song against Norwich and looked to be getting back to his old form. He also crowned it off with a superb trademark header to score his third goal since his return.
The big question is will Cotterill retain his faith in Ade Akinbiyi and will the starting eleven be 4-4-2 with Ade partnering Andy Gray. Andy Gray himself got on the score sheet for the first time since returning from a long injury back in February. He scored the second goal against Norwich and is now looking like his former self prior to his injury against Leeds back in November 06.
The gaffer however might be tempted to return to a 4-4-1-1 system and play McVeigh just behind Gray. A successful combination in recent times.
I suspect the team will be as follows with Paul McVeigh ready to come on from the bench if the Ade/Andy partnership isn't working:
Jensen, Duff, Thomas, Caldwell, Harley, Elliott, Djemba-Djemba, James O'Connor, Jones, Akinbiyi, Gray .
Subs: Coyne, Coughlan, McCann, McVeigh, Spicer
It is believed we may have a full squad to choose from tonight, although Mahon and Foster are unlikely to feature despite the news they have both returned to training. Paul McVeigh, will also be available after having to sit out the Norwich match under the terms of his loan agreement.
He appears to be back on form and scored his first goal since his return from injury in our last match against Norwich
Defender Curtis Davies is out with a broken metatarsal plus Neil Clement and Darren Carter are both suspended.
Chris Perry could be recalled if Sam Sodje does not recover from illness in time.
Koumas & Ellington are always dangerous and we will need to watch those two. Most Clarets fans would love to see Chappy play again at the Turf although we wont be wishing him too much luck! He has been more of a bench warmer for the Baggies in recent matches but lets hope we at least see a glimpse of our former midfielder. Meanwhile the Baggies fans can enjoy watching 'The Beast' and 'The Wasp' (James O'Connor) both former West Brom players
We were comprehensively beaten 3-0 in the match at the Hawthorns back in November. We certainly dont want a repeat of that performance
How nice it is after our 19 match winless run to have hit form and no longer have to worry about the relegation battle unfolding below us.I hope we will see a Clarets victory tonight based on our recent home form and the fact we have always done well in front of the cameras (in the last two seasons at least)- 2-1 Clarets!
Sunderland (A) Friday April 27th @ 7:45pm. Another televised match in front of the Sky cameras,the second in five days!
Date:Monday April 23 2007
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