Casual Claret Writes for Vital Burnley
Adam's first article was written before the electric derby against Preston last Saturday
Laws Looks to Push on After Decent Start.
Although the Championship recently ground to a halt due to the international break, behind the scenes, the work rate has far from stalled. Brian Laws is using the break to fine-tune his troops` weaponry as he prepares to send them to battle on the 11th September against bitter rivals Preston at Turf Moor; a match which is expected to be a real Lancashire hotpot.
The Clarets have made a decent start to their Championship campaign, scoring seven points from a possible twelve, leaving them sitting pretty in fifth position having suffered their first defeat of the season away to Swansea in their last outing.
Laws intends to iron out some of the flaws from that result last weekend, as the Clarets were less than impressive, especially in the first half of the game.
"We are testing the players this week to see where we are in terms of the physical condition and whether we are happy with the way things are," he told the official Burnley website. "We will be reviewing our season so far and that`s not just about the results."
The results have been quite impressive, but Laws wants to see more of the free-flowing football that dominated teams and gained the Clarets promotion to the Premier League two seasons ago.
"I thought we gave them (Swansea) too much respect in that opening 20 minutes and once we got to grips with that we were more than the probing side."
Burnley have a block of seven games in just three weeks when they return to action on the 11th, including two very important Lancashire derbies; at home to Preston on 11th September, and a Carling Cup third round home tie to Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday 21st September (7.45pm k/o), and Laws knows that the players will need to show their character and resilience for that daunting spell of matches.
"We are also looking at the physical aspects of how the players are performing and where we need to improve and integrate that into our next period, which is a block of seven games in 21 days."
He added: "That spell will be a real test of character and of our squad because it will certainly be stretched."
If Laws can get the players ready during the international break and firing on all cylinders, I imagine that the Clarets fans will be in for a very satisfying 21 days.
In his second article, Adam reviews the loan market and assesses the comment by Brian Laws that there could be some gems out there.
Not Many Gems for Laws to Choose From.
As we all know, the FA have created a new rule for the 2010/11 Barclays Premier League season, in which every team must submit a list of 25 players that they will be eligible to use from now until the January transfer window opens.
The knock-on effects of this new rule will no doubt have had a lot of Championship managers rubbing their hands together in anticipation as to what high profile casualties may lie in wait as a result of the new introduction.
Players who are not in the 25 man squad list will not be able to feature for their club until at least January. This will leave the absentees no option but to go out on loan if they wish to continue playing football until January, when a new list will need to be submitted for the remainder of the season.
At first, the general consensus was that there would be a lot of talent being left out of the squads and that Championship clubs especially, would be free to pick good players at will.
However, many people didn`t realise that the rule excludes players who are under 21 on the first January 2011, which means clubs can use younger players in their match squads without having to announce them in the 25 man squad lists.
Some Premier League clubs didn`t even have 25 professional players over the 21 threshold, meaning that the fields in which Brian Laws had expected his 'gems` to be in abundance, are in un-actual fact, as empty as Tim Henman`s Grand Slam title trophy cabinet. Well, admittedly, players who fit these criteria actually aren`t as hard to find as Henman`s silverware, but they are still hard to find nevertheless. The only players I can find that seem surplus to requirements are West Brom striker Luke Moore and Wolves winger Michael Kightly. Jonathan Woodgate has been left out of the Spurs squad, but this is due to a groin injury that will last at least until January anyway.
Michael Kightly was expected to return from ankle injury early in the 2010/11 season but has suffered another setback in his recovery although he is still expected to return before the January transfer window opens. He has been injury-prone for most of his career, so paying Premier League wages for a player who may never feature for Burnley would be ludicrous.
This leaves just one player for the whole of the Football League clubs to fight over...
West Brom`s disaster in front of goal... Luke Moore.
Luke Moore signed for West Brom from Aston Villa for £3.5m in February 2008. This would prove to be a shrewd move by Martin O`Neill as Moore played West Brom`s final 10 games of the 2007/08 Championship season scoring 0 of the 16 goals they scored, 'helping` them to gain promotion to the Premier League.
In the 2008/09 season, he featured in 23 league and cup games, scoring 1 of the 23 goals that West Brom scored in the games that he featured in. They were subsequently relegated.
This brings us to last season; another promotion winning season for West Brom, surely he managed to bag a few! Didn`t he?
Exactly... he scored a few: In the 29 games that Luke Moore featured in, league and cup, West Brom scored a whopping 58 goals. Luke Moore got 4 of them.
Not surprisingly, Moore has only featured once this season in a 2-0 Carling Cup win against Leyton Orient, and not surprisingly, failed to score.
I would add up the totals for all the games that he`s played in for West Brom and publish them on here, but that might make him look bad; and I wouldn`t want that.
So it seems that the only realistic loan deals Brian Laws may look to go for if needed will be players under the 21 threshold, or players that are in the squad lists but are still unable to feature in their managers plans. This makes Laws` ramblings about how he`s hoping to find hidden 'gems`, due to the new squad list rule, totally irrelevant.
There are good points about the rules at least, otherwise they could have been dubbed as pointless; the new rules will benefit home grown players; we should get to see more English players making the benches of teams and it will stop teams like Man City buying forty top named foreign players and spoiling the English game.
Adams final article of this trilogy reviews the signings in the Championship during the transfer window
Laws has now officially put his stamp on the team.
So, the transfer window has now closed and unless there is some activity in the loan markets, the 24 teams in the NPower Championship will have to use the current squad of players that they have at their disposal, from now until the January transfer window opens. There have been some almighty highs and some devastating lows, some shrewd investments and also some high profile names leaving for free this time around.
Here is a club by club list of the more important 'ins and outs' that have been made prior to the transfer window slamming shut on Monday evening:
Jay McEveley Derby County Free
Goran Lovre FC Groningen Undisclosed
Daniel Bogdanovic Sheffield U Free
Jon Macken Walsall Free
David James Portsmouth Free
Brett Pitman Bournemouth £800,000
Bradley Orr QPR £500,000
Lee Grant Sheffield Wednesday £1m
Dean Marney Hull City £500,000
Chris Iwelumo Wolves £500,000
Ross Wallace Preston Undisclosed
Jack Cork Chelsea Season Loan
Steven Fletcher Wolves £6.5m
Robbie Blake Susan Boyle`s Notlob Free
Craig Bellamy Man City Season Loan
Jason Koumas Wigan Season Loan
Ross McCormack Leeds United £300,000
Joe Ledley Celtic Free
Lukas Jutkiewicz Everton £1m
Lee Carsley Birmingham City Free
Clinton Morrison Sheffield Wed Free
Elliott Ward Norwich City Free
Edgar Davids Unattached Free
Owen Garvan Ipswich Town Free
Alan Lee Huddersfield Town £350,000
Sean Derry Queens Park Rangers Free
Tomasz Cywka Wigan Athletic Free
Gareth Roberts Doncaster Rovers Free
Jay McEveley Barnsley Free
Lewis Price Crystal Palace Free
Billy Sharp Sheffield United £1.1m
Gareth Roberts Derby County Free
Jay Simpson Arsenal £1.2m
Robert Koren West Bromwich Albion Free
Stephen Hunt Wolves £3m
Steven Mouyokolo Wolves £2.5m
Boaz Myhill West Bromwich Albion £1.5m
Dean Marney Burnley £500,000
Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink Rapid Vienna Free
Marton Fulop Sunderland £750,000
Jason Scotland Wigan Undisclosed
Jon Walters Stoke City £2.75m
Ross McCormack Cardiff City £300,000
Kasper Schmeichel Notts County Free
Jermaine Beckford Everton Free
Casper Ankergren Brighton Free
Martyn Waghorn Sunderland £3m
Moreno Victoria Guimaraes £300,000
DJ Campbell Blackpool £1.5m
Nolberto Solano Hull City Free
Kevin Thomson Rangers £2m
Stephen McManus Celtic £1.5m
Nicky Bailey Charlton Athletic £1.4m
Kris Boyd Rangers Free
Brad Jones Liverpool £2.3m
Mido Ajax Free
Emanuel Pogatetz Hannover 96 Free
James Henry Reading Undisclosed
Kevin Lisbie Town Season Loan
David Martin Derby County £200,000
Andrew Surman Wolves £1.2m
Elliott Ward Coventry City Free
Phil Roberts Arsenal Free
Darel Russell Preston North End Free
Radoslav Majewski Polonia Warsaw £1m
Ryan Bertrand Chelsea Six Month Loan
James Perch Newcastle United £1.5m
Dave Kitson Stoke City Swap
Ibrahima Sonko Stoke City Season loan
Kevin-Prince Boateng Genoa £5.5m
Marc Wilson Stoke City £4m
Papa Bouba Diop AEK Athens Undisclosed
Nadir Belhadj Al Sadd Free
David James Bristol City Free
Preston North End
Craig Morgan Peterborough £400,000
Paul Hayes Scunthorpe United Free
Neill Collins Leeds United Undisclosed
Ross Wallace Burnley Undisclosed
Queens Park Rangers
Adel Taarabt Tottenham Hotspur £1m
Paddy Kenny Sheffield United £750,000
Bradley Orr Bristol City £500,000
Jamie Mackie Plymouth Argyle Undisclosed
Clint Hill Crystal Palace Free
Damion Stewart Bristol City Undisclosed
Andy Griffin Stoke City £250,000
Gylfi Sigurdsson Hoffenheim £6.2m
Grzegorz Rasiak AEL Limassol Free
Marek Matejovski Sparta Prague Free
Eddie Nolan Preston Six Month Loan
Chris Dagnall Rochdale Free
Gary Hooper Celtic £2.4m
Paul Hayes Preston North End Free
Marcus Williams Reading Free
Leon Britton Swansea City Free
Steve Simonsen Stoke City Free
Nyron Nosworthy Sunderland Season Loan
Billy Sharp Doncaster Rovers £1.1m
Paddy Kenny Quenns Park Rangers £750,000
Scott Sinclair Chelsea £500,000 rising to £1.2m
Federico Bessone Leeds United Free
Leon Britton Sheffield United Free
Troy Deeney Walsall £500,000
Jon Harley Notts County Free
Will Hoskins Bristol Rovers Free
This is not a complete list of all the transfers that took place during the recent transfer window; these are the transfers whose introductions or absences could have a significant impact on their clubs fortunes this season.
The teams which stand out as initial automatic promotion candidates seem to be Queens Park Rangers, Burnley, Nottingham Forest, Cardiff and Middlesbrough as all of these clubs have managed to keep a strong core of players from last season`s squads and have added quality to their ranks.
There are quite a few teams this season who will feel that they have enough quality and strength in depth to mount a genuine play-off attempt this season. Clubs like Reading, Leeds, Norwich, Swansea, Leicester, Ipswich, Sheffield United and Bristol City will all be looking towards a season of relative success or a high-mid table finish.
A few teams have not had a lot of activity on the transfer front this season but already seem to have decent enough squads, whilst others have had their squad`s cherry-picked due to cash-flow problems and crippling debt. These teams will probably live to fight another season and look likely to finish mid table or slightly lower. They include the likes of Crystal Palace, Derby, Hull City, Doncaster, Millwall and Coventry.
However, some teams look as though they have just simply not done enough in this transfer window to enhance their squads which were already suffering from lack of strength in depth and/or lack of quality within the ranks. Teams like Portsmouth, Scunthorpe, Preston, Barnsley and Watford seem as though they are going to be in for a long, hard season this time around and look as though they are going to be fighting a relegation battle.
Brian Laws at first glance, seems to have succeeded in keeping the core of our squad together and also added quality to it where needed. All in all, despite losing Stephen Fletcher to Wolves and Robbie Blake to Bolton, it seems as if we have still got a very strong squad which is capable of mounting a serious challenge for the Championship crown.
This initial prognosis is echoed by the bookmakers, who have installed Burnley as one of the favourites for promotion. This has never been the case before and now shows that our escapade, albeit a very short one, in the Premier League has enhanced Burnley`s reputation amongst bookmakers and rival fans up and down the country.
One question remains unanswered however, and it seems to be a question which has a debatable answer at the minute....
'In Laws We Trust?`
Many fans feel as though he has got a lot to prove, whereas other fans have backed him from the start. I for one, have always had faith in him and our decent start to the season has started to ease the pressure that was mounting around him, especially considering the chants of 'you`re getting sacked in the morning` which will no doubt still be ringing in his ears from the last game of last season in which we were behind 0-2 at home to Spurs. We eventually turned the deficit and managed to end the game and season with a hard fought, and well deserved, 4-2 win. That win could well have been the deciding factor in the Burnley hierarchy`s decision to keep Laws as manager for the upcoming Championship campaign.
That is all in the past now and we have to look forward to this new season which is now in its infancy. I am confident that given time, Laws can be a successful manager here at Burnley; he just needs the fans support and the players to do their talking on the pitch. And like I say, the answer to the question is currently unknown, but only time will tell I suppose...
Many thanks once again to Casual Claret for providing these articles. I am sure he would like feedback on his work to date so please comment below the article in the usual manner. We look foward to more articles, Adam!