Date:Friday February 8 2008
9th February 2008
The Clarets will be hoping to put their defeat last Saturday at the Hawthorns behind them and come back strongly against Colchester United at Turf Moor tomorrow.
The Us have not had a good season after an impressive debut in the Championship during 2006/7. They currently prop up the division with only 27 points from 29 games. They do have a tendency though to surprise some teams away from home. In recent weeks they have managed to get a well-earned point at Bristol City and, along with the Clarets are one of the few clubs to have defeated Charlton at The Valley!
We need to be careful therefore as this match could be a banana skin waiting to happen, and until recently we have struggled in our home games most notably against those at the foot of the table.
We need to plough on now though and consolidate our position. We are still only two points off the play-off positions in 10th place on 43 points from 30 games.
Alan Mahon (Groin) and Clarke Carlisle (Hamstring) still look to be suffering from their niggling injuries and look doubtful. Steve Jones also has a knee problem whilst Chris McCann has not managed to train this week after an injury he picked up against West Brom. The injury has already kept him out of the Irish Under 21 squad and he remains doubtful for Saturday according to Owen Coyle speaking in last night`s interview on Radio Lancs.
The injury situation in midfield suggests new loan, Mark Randall could be given his full debut for the Clarets after coming on from the bench last Saturday against the Baggies.
Captain Caldwell although now available has also been sidelined recently and been named on the bench with Unsworth and Varga taking up the central defensive positions. David Unsworth should he play tomorrow will clock up his 500th career appearance.
The only other selection debate is likely to be the strike pairing. Will Owen Coyle start with Akinbiyi and Blake upfront or will he be tempted to name new loan, Andrew Cole in the starting eleven? Although Akinbiyi by his own standards maybe had a lacklustre performance against West Brom last Saturday, I don`t think Coyle will drop him back to the bench. There is also another possibility with the return of Kyle Lafferty after a four match suspension. If Kyle does play, I expect him to take up his role as a left-sided winger rather than as part of the strike pair.
The team selection could therefore look something like this:
Jensen, Alexander, Varga, Unsworth, Harley, James O`Connor, Gudjonsson, Randall, Elliott, Akinbiyi, Blake
Subs: Kiraly, Caldwell, Cole, Lafferty, Spicer
'I actually think this could be our toughest game of the season,' said Owen Coyle
'Colchester are fighting for their lives and they won't want to give up their Championship status.
'I actually think they are a better team than their league position suggests and so we are going to have to be at our best.
'We will give them every respect because the Championship presents a difficult obstacle every week and we know the perils of underestimating the teams at the bottom.
'The margins between winning and losing are very fine, but we are handily placed two points off the play offs and we will go and try to win another important game and push ourselves into the frame.'
Mahon, Carlisle, Jones & McCann all look doubtful (see above) but Lafferty returns from a four match suspension.
Our new loan from Arsenal will be keen to make an impression in his home debut and many Clarets will be keen to see the midfielder perform for the first time.
Mark Yeates is out for two weeks with a dislocated shoulder. New signing Dean Hammond could be in line to make his debut.
Kevin McLeod might come into contention after suffering with sciatica.
Ten goals to his name already and we need to snuff out this talented former Charlton striker
The Us managed to defeat the Clarets 2-1 at Turf Moor last season despite a goal by Andy Gray.
Since that time though we have had two visits to Layer Road. Almost a year ago we earned a good point during our bad spell in a 0-0 draw but this season we went one better, winning 3-2 in an exciting match back in September. Gray with a brace and Mahon scoring for the Clarets.
We could get our first six pointer this Saturday!
Our poster tomlaw, has already provided his Referee review: This weekend`s referee is Steve Bratt from the West Midlands. So far this season he has refereed 22 games. He has booked 77 players and has shown 1 red card. This is the 1st time Steve Bratt has refereed the Clarets. Bratt has refereed 2 other championship games this season when PNE beat Hull 3-0 at home and when Plymouth beat QPR at home 2-1 on Boxing Day Many QPR fans felt his handling of the game was appalling as did QPR`s on loan defender Robert Malcolm who blamed the referee for a motoring mishap. Malcolm said that he was so frustrated with Bratt's performance that it caused tiredness so he stopped, in the middle lane of the M1 and nearly caused an accident!! In other games this season Bratt has not had many good reviews and it looks like we`ve got another bad 'un this weekend unfortunately. tomlaw
3-1 Clarets and no slip ups lads!
QPR at Loftus Road on Tuesday 12th February @ 7:45pm KO
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Date:Friday February 8 2008
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