The Clarets take a break from their Premier League campaign tonight (Tuesday 22nd September) hoping instead to advance further in the Carling Cup. They face struggling Championship side, Barnsley at Oakwell in the third round of the competition.
Predicted Team Sheet
Owen Coyle has once more made it clear that he intends to give some of his fringe players a chance to shine in tonight`s game although has indicated he won`t making as many changes as he did in the second round away to Hartlepool.
One player that won`t feature though is our new in-form striker, David Nugent on loan from Portsmouth. He scored a brace against Sunderland on Saturday on his home league debut but is cup-tied for this game.
We don`t have any suspensions to worry about, but Chris McCann picked up a serious injury to his knee on Saturday and could now be out of action for up to 3 months after a scan revealed damage to his medial ligament. Michael Duff has now fully recovered from his ankle injury and could feature tonight. Our captain, Steven Caldwell who has been injured all season with a groin injury returned to training yesterday but it could be too soon for him to play in tonight`s match.
It is difficult to predict how we might line-up in view of Coyle`s stated intentions but I suspect we will keep some heavyweight players on the bench in case the game starts going Barnsley`s way. Owen Coyle might also be keen to rest a number of his first team ahead of Saturday`s important Premier League clash against Spurs at White Hart Lane. Nugent could well have earned a starting eleven place for that game in which case if we see Martin Paterson and/or Steven Fletcher line up against the Tykes tonight, it could be an indication that one of those will be stepping down, probably to the bench on Saturday to make way for the former Preston striker.
I will predict the following starting eleven but the bench is anybody`s guess:
Penny, Mears, Duff, Edgar, Jordan, Gudjonsson, Guerrero, McDonald, Eagles, Thompson, Rodriguez
Subs from: Jensen, Kalvenes, Bikey, Carlisle, Caldwell (if fully fit), Alexander, Elliott, Blake, Paterson, Fletcher
Barnsley Team News:
Daniel Bogdanovic, Jamal Campbell-Ryce and Emil Halfredsson are all likely to miss out with injury.
Burnley fans hoping to give former Clarets striker, Andy Gray some stick will be disappointed. The striker who signed from Charlton in August 2009 for an undisclosed fee is cup-tied for this match along with their new loan signing Nathan Doyle. The defender/midfielder only joined from Hull this month.
Player to watch: Stephen Foster
The former Clarets defender is now captain at Barnsley and has become a bit of a cult hero with the Tykes fans. His time at Turf Moor was not a happy one and he never really broke into the first team making just 17 appearances for the Clarets. He had been signed from Crewe on a free transfer in the summer of 2006 by Steve Cotterill. In August 2007 Foster was transferred to Barnsley for the sum of £100,000 where he signed a two year contract.
Burnley Team News:
Hotshot, brace-man, David Nugent is cup-tied for this match.
Chris McCann is out for 2-3 months with medial ligament damage to his knee. Captain, Steven Caldwell returned to training on Monday and is recovering from a groin injury.
Player to watch: Kevin McDonald
Kev will be keen to cement a place in the starting eleven as the natural replacement for the injured Chris McCann but will face competition from other midfielders including Joey Gudjonsson and Fernando Guerrero. He is likely to feature at some point tonight and this will be an ideal opportunity for him to put in a good performance and catch the eye of the manager.
Back to the Future
In 1975-76, when the Clarets were last in the top flight of English football, Barnsley were a struggling mid-table side in the old fourth division and indeed we never played them between 1947 and 1980 in any competition. Our record since 1980 at Oakwell has been poor and we have yet to win a match there in the modern era. We have played them 8 times at Oakwell since 1980 and only managed to draw twice. In fact it is 77 years since we last defeated them on their home-soil so this really is a bogey ground.
We last played Barnsley at Oakwell last November in the Championship and it looked like we were going to get a thumping finding ourselves 3-0 down. A brace from Martin Paterson though after 69 and 73 minutes gave Burnley some hope but despite possession and continual pressure from the Clarets we just couldn`t get that elusive equaliser and the game finished 3-2 to Barnsley. We could not even get revenge in the home game played last season on Boxing Day. In the traditional Clarets Christmas slump we managed to lose 2-1 to the Tykes despite a McCann goal on 38 minutes. So a double for Barnsley in our promotion season and we now seek revenge by knocking them out of the Carling Cup.
It is rather unusual this season to not be the underdogs in cup competitions after knocking out so many Premier League teams last season including Fulham, Chelsea and Arsenal (almost Spurs too)in the Carling Cup plus West Brom in the FA Cup. Barnsley though have also enjoyed knocking out top Premier League sides and in the FA Cup in the 2007-8 season they sensationally beat Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield before going on to incredibly defeat Chelsea 1-0 at home in the next round. They will be up for tonight`s game and we will certainly need to be on our guard.
Premier League referee, Mark Clattenburg (Co. Durham) will be in charge of this one.
We simply have to avoid a banana skin here and consign our poor record at Oakwell to the history books.
Barnsley have been struggling in the Championship this season and have yet to win at home. They are currently third from bottom although there have been recent signs of improvement under new manager, Mark Robins.
Barnsley though do have their injury problems and two of their players, Andy Gray and Nathan Doyle are cup-tied. We should be too strong for Barnsley and I am predicting a rare win at Oakwell-3-1 to the Clarets
Our Premier League campaign continues this Saturday (26th September @3pm KO) with a trip to White Hart Lane to face Tottenham Hotspur. The Clarets will be seeking revenge after being dumped out of the Carling Cup semi-final last season by Spurs having been within two minutes of reaching the final at Wembley.