The one all Clarets fans have been waiting for will finally have arrived this Sunday! Yes, its Burnley v Blackburn at Turf Moor!
Burnley v Blackburn this Sunday at Turf Moor, not that anybody needs telling that! Fans might need to be reminded though that this is an early kick-off game at 12:30pm and that it won`t, perhaps surprisingly be covered by the live TV cameras! Are Sky and the rest mad? This has to be the most bitterly fought derby in the whole of the UK and you only have to look at the special police measures in place to realise that! There is extra bite to the game this time too! Blackburn are just one point above the Clarets so a Burnley win would see them move above their deadly rivals and get ever closer to pushing for a play-offs spot. At the time of writing this match preview on Saturday, the other Championship games had still to be played but at the moment Rovers are in 10th spot on 28 points from 19 games and the Clarets in 14th place with 27 points. The current sixth placed club Hull are 5 points clear of the Clarets!
Burnley have picked up four points in their last two games, both on the road after beating Hull City 1-0 at the KC Stadium last Saturday and then earning a point against Barnsley at Oakwell in a 1-1 draw on Tuesday night. The Clarets should go into the derby clash the more confident of the two sides. Rovers lost a crucial home match against Bolton 2-1 on Wednesday night their second defeat at Ewood on the trot after also going down 2-0 to Millwall at home last Saturday. Blackburn boss Henning Berg may have the more difficult task in lifting his players for this clash after those two disappointing defeats.
There is no getting away from the fact though that Rovers have had the upper hand in the derby clashes over recent seasons and although the two clubs spent many years playing apart in different divisions you have to go back to 1979 for the last time the Clarets tasted success over the old enemy. Rovers have won the last three battles and the two sides last met when they were both in the Premier League in 2009/10.it really is Burnley`s turn to have some cheer and this is probably our best chance in sometime with just one point separating the two clubs and the Clarets currently the club in better form. Come on lads!!
Burnley Team News:
Dean Marney returns from a one-match suspension after picking up a fifth yellow in the home game against Charlton a week last Saturday. He sat out the midweek game away to Barnsley! Sean Dyche appears to have the luxury of a full squad to choose from with no injuries reported after the 1-1 draw at Oakwell on Tuesday night.
Player to watch: Charlie Austin
Austin was back to finding the back of the net on Tuesday night after opening the scoring with a header in the fifth minute. He had a drawn a rare blank in the previous three games but remains the country`s leading goal scorer with 18 Championship goals so far. Hopefully Austin will win the battle of the strikers against Rover`s Jordan Rhodes
Blackburn Rovers Team News:
Blackburn midfielder David Dunn has been out for a month with a calf strain but could play a part if he wins his battle to be fit enough in time. Striker Fabio Nunes is also close to a return and could feature
Colin Kazim-Richards, Morten Gamst-Pedersen and Jason Lowe are all pushing for a starting eleven place.
Player to watch: Jordan Rhodes
Can we keep Rhodes at bay? He is Rovers current leading marksman with 12 Championship goals so far this season but although it makes him the joint third highest goalscorer in the Championship that is still six goals short of Austin`s remarkable tally. The hotshot striker made his name with Huddersfield. The 23 year old Scotland international striker made a high-profile move to Ewood Park at the end of August 2012 for a fee reported to be in the region of £8 million including add-ons having scored a remarkable 73 times for the Terriers in 124 appearances. The majority of those games though were at League 1 level although he also scored against the Clarets in our clash at the John Smiths Stadium helping his side secure a 2-0 win just five days before he left Huddersfield!
Team & Tactics:
The big question is will Sean Dyche stick with the 4-1-4-1 formation he has started with in every game since arriving at the club. Coupled with that question is whether it has been right the tactic with Dyche finishing up usually reverting to 4-4-2 at some point during the game! I think 4-1-4-1 works providing we have the option on the bench to play 4-4-2 if need be so it seems the right tactics to adopt. Three wins and one draw from six games since Dyche arrived seems to prove the point. We did I feel miss Marney though on Tuesday night against Barnsley and Martin Paterson playing the wider role does not appear to have worked that well for some weeks. It is perhaps time to drop Pato to the bench and start Danny ings. I suspect the Burnley eighteen will look something like this :
Grant, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Stock, Wallace, Marney, McCann, Ings, Austin
Subs: Jensen, Lafferty, Edgar, Stanislas, Stewart, Paterson, Vokes
Boy will this game need a top referee with guts and experience and it looks like we got one! Lee Mason is in charge. The Lancashire referee is well-respected and has a wealth of Premier League experience. In his 12 games so far this season, not one player has seen red although 49 have picked up yellow cards. Last season his tally was just 3 reds and 80 yellow cards from 32 games so quite a lenient referee it would appear! This derby though could be a tough challenge and it will be interesting to see how well he controls proceedings. His last game involving the Clarets was against Barnsley at Oakwell last season back in October 2011. Just one yellow card was shown that day but Burnley lost the game 2-0.
Rovers have won just once in six games since the new gaffer, Henning Berg arrived to replace Steve Kean. Burnley have to make sure that statistic remains the same after Sunday`s game. On so many levels a win is vital for the Clarets! Surely on law of averages alone as well as current form, it`s our turn? God, I hope so! 2-1 to Burnley with the whole town in ecstasy!
Clarets travel to the City Ground on Saturday 8th December to play Nottingham Forest (Kick-Off: 3pm)