Date: 14th August 2009 at 12:28pm
Written by:

I was 22 the last time we played in the top flight and now finally after waiting 33 long years we are back where we belong. We visit Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday 15th August for the start of the 2009/10 campaign, our first ever game in the Premier League as we know it today!. Come on you Clarets!

Predicted Team Sheet

The problems for Owen Coyle are all in defence. Steven Caldwell looks now certain to be out after picking up a groin injury in the Scotland game against Norway in midweek. No wonder the gaffer is fuming at the timing of these Internationals having now lost our captain for the start of our most important season in 33 years!

So who will partner Carlisle in the central back four position?

It is not helped by having new signing central defender,David Edgar suspended after picking up a one match ban following a double yellow and sending off in Newcastle’s last match of 2008/9.

The obvious choice might be to play Michael Duff, but he has been out with an ankle injury and has not played since the Portland Timbers game in the US. He remains a doubt too therefore. It looks like it will have to be Jordan in the centre with Kalvenes or Easton at left back.

Assuming Alexander is not suffering from the Scotland game, I think we will play 4-1-3-2 and this would be my choice assuming the worst with injuries:

Jensen, Eckersley, Carlisle, Jordan, Kalvenes, Alexander, Eagles, McCann, Elliott, Paterson, Fletcher.

There are numerous possibilities on the subs bench but I would hope to see at least Fernando Guerrero come on to liven up proceedings at some point in the game.

Subs from: Penny, Mears (if fit),Easton, McDonald, Gudjonsson, Guerrero, Blake, Rodriguez, Thompson

Stoke City Team News:

New signing,midfielder Dean Whitehead could be handed a Potters debut.

Left back Danny Higginbotham is doubtful because of a hamstring problem and faces a late fitness test.
Danny Pugh or Carl Dickinson could take his place if he fails it.

Young right-back Ryan Shotton is in contention for a start ahead of Andy Wilkinson and Andy Griffin.

A striker in form is Dave Kitson but he is likely to be fighting it out with James Beattie for a chance to start alongside Ricardo Fuller.

Player to watch: Ricardo Fuller

The 29 year old Jamaican International will no doubt again be the typical handful he has been against the Clarets over the years most notably for Preston.

Fuller joined Stoke City from Southampton for a fee of around £500,000 on transfer deadline day, 31 August 2006.

Since that time he has netted 36 goals for the Potters in 108 appearances. A handful indeed, especially if he partners Beattie or Kitson upfront.

Burnley Team News:

Steven Caldwell picked up a groin injury in the recent International match for Scotland played in midweek and will not play. David Edgar sits out a one-match suspension for his two yellows sending off for Newcastle in their last game of 2008/9.

There are major headaches for Coyle in the centre of defence with Michael Duff still recovering from an ankle injury. Right back,Tyrone Mears also sat out recent friendly games due to injury.

Player to watch: Martin Paterson

Martin will be up for this game against his former club. We need to show we can score at this level and Pato could be just the man to start us off.

Back to the Future

This is a new feature this season, where we will bring you details of how well we fared against the opposition way back in 1976, the last time we were in the top flight. It won’t be particularly comfortable reading in most cases since we were relegated in 1975/6 but it will be interesting.

So what happened against Stoke, a team that finished 12th by the end of 1995/6? Well on the Saturday of 1st November 1975 at Turf Moor in front of a crowd of 18,326, Jimmy Adamson’s Burnley sadly went down 1-0 to Tony Waddington’s men.

The team that day was as follows:

Stevenson, Docherty, Newton, Noble, Waldron, Thomson, Summerbee, Casper, Fletcher, Flynn, James.

The one sub allowed back then was Willie Morgan enjoying his second spell with the Clarets!

Stoke’s squad in those days included England keeper, Peter Shilton and some other famous names you might remember were Mike Pejic, Jimmy Greenhoff, Alan Hudson and Jimmy Robertson.

It got even worse when we played them away at the Victoria Ground later in the season. We lost 4-1 in March 1976 with Ray Hankin getting our goal. By now, Jimmy Adamson had left with Joe Brown taking over in January 1976 and the team that day was as follows:

Peyton, Scott, Newton, Rodaway, Waldron, Thomson, Morris, Hankin, Fletcher, Flynn, Summerbee. Our substitute was Tony Morley.

So a double for Stoke that season and of course they now play at the Britannia Stadium, which has been kind to the Clarets over the years.

In our battles in the lower leagues we have won four of the last eight matches at the Britannia Stadium drawing another two including the last encounter in Stoke’s promotion winning season in 2007/8. We earned a 1-1 draw the last time we played them back in March 2008.

Ref Watch:

Kent referee Steve Bennett and let’s hope Clarets fans will not have to call him by his more regular name, Gordon!!

Match Prediction:

You know what let’s start as we mean to go on. Britannia Stadium has been kind to the Clarets in the Championship years, so let’s continue as a Premier League side. 2-1 Clarets and a Paterson brace to rub it in!

Next Match:

A Turf Moor Baptism of Fire in the Premier League-Manchester United on Wednesday 19th August 2009 (Kick-off 7:45pm)