Gray Clouds and Sky Blues
19th January 2008
The Clarets travel to the Ricoh today and face Coventry knowing they have just lost their star striker and leading goal scorer, Andy Gray following his £1.5 million transfer to Charlton yesterday.
It will be interesting to see if this has any effect on the morale of the team. We might have the Gray clouds hanging over us but it`s the Sky Blues we now need to concentrate on and try and put this bad news behind us.
We are currently 11th in the table on 37 points just four points off the 6th placed club, Crystal Palace and we should have been lifted by our first home victory since October 07 against Plymouth last Saturday.
Let`s hope our generally better away form this season continues at Coventry. The Midlands club have struggled this season and are currently 17th on 32 points, sharing the worst goal difference (Minus 13) in the league with Scunthorpe, the team we incidentally face the week after at Turf Moor.
What a time to lose your leading goal scorer!
With Kyle Lafferty suspended and young Jay Rodriguez on loan up in Stirling, the only option open to the gaffer would appear to be to start with Ade Akinbiyi probably with Robbie Blake up front. Another possibility is the 4-5-1 option with Ade up front on his own, a role he tends to be better at in any case.
Steve Jones will probably feature despite the probability that next week he will go out on a one month`s loan to his former club, Crewe.
By the time we face Scunthorpe, we should also have at least one player in, with the news that the Clarets have already sealed a deal for a new striker, widely reported to be Alan Lee from Ipswich. But today is the issue!
Clarke Carlisle remains an injury doubt with his hamstring problem and there is no news yet of Alan Mahon also struggling with injury. Chris McCann will now be available though after sitting out a one-match ban against Plymouth for a fifth yellow card.
Brian Jensen, preferred to Kiraly in the last match may also retain his place although Plymouth hardly tested him that much in last Saturday`s match.
The line up therefore is likely to be as follows:
Jensen, Alexander, Caldwell, Varga, Harley, Elliott, James O`Connor, Gudjonsson, Jones, Blake, Akinbiyi
Subs: Kiraly, Unsworth, Jordan, Garreth O`Connor, Spicer
On the subject of Gray's attitude and the Coventry match:
'Andy was again waiting to see me when I arrived at the club (on Friday morning) and when he asked I told him there had been an improved offer that the club were looking at.
'At that point, he asked if I was considering him playing at Coventry on Saturday, which I was.
'Andy told me that he felt he was not in the right frame of mind and could not do himself, or the team justice.
'I feel that players have an obligation that whoever wears that shirt, they do so with pride because our supporters work hard all week and pay good money to watch their team, home and away.
'All I ask is that they give everything they have got to represent those supporters, but after talking to my staff and thinking about it, we felt that we had been backed into a corner and had no option.
'I told Andy to go home and that he wouldn't be training with the lads as I only want players totally committed and focused as we prepare for a big match.
'At that point he was neither committed or focused on Burnley
Coventry Team News:
Coventry captain Michael Doyle is available after suspension while fellow midfielder Jay Tabb is also set to return after recovering from illness.
Chris Birchall is a doubt with a hamstring strain.Goalkeeper, Andy Marshall though is definitely out with a back injury and finding a suitable replacement has been a problem for Ian Dowie. Coventry City's transfer embargo has however now been lifted allowing manager Iain Dowie to bring in a new goalkeeper.
Dowie told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire on Thursday:
'We're hopeful of signing a keeper but it may take another day or so.'
Player to watch: The Keeper!
The goalkeeper whoever it might be, could be the weakness that the Clarets will need to exploit in the absence of first-team choice keeper, Marshall (see above,no news on new loan)
Burnley Team News:
Player to watch: Ade Akinbiyi
A chance for him to shine and stake a claim to become our new leading goal-scorer
Last Time We Met
We suffered a 1-0 defeat at the Ricoh for the second season running back in December 2006 and the Sky Blues completed the double over us last season winning 2-1 at the Turf in our final match of 2006/7 on May 6th 2007.
Despite the loss of Gray, the lads should be fired up to prove a point and get three by winning 1-0. About time we got something at the Ricoh
Scunthorpe at home rearranged to the Saturday 26th Jnauary 2008 @ 3pm