Date: 25th August 2009 at 9:09am
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A break from the euphoria of playing Premier League sides tonight for the Clarets as they start their Carling Cup campaign with a trip to Victoria Park to play League 1 club, Hartlepool United in the 2nd round.

Owen Coyle has confirmed he will rotate some of the players tonight and we will need to be on our guard against the Pools who are no mugs in this competition.

In recent seasons they have claimed a number of Premier League and Championship scalps. Last season they beat newly promoted Premier League sides, Stoke and West Brom and have already seen off Championship side, Coventry City at the Ricoh this season in the first round. Clarets fans will also recall one miserable night at Turf Moor back in August 2006 when the Pools came away winners 1-0 . The game tonight therefore will be either payback time or a banana skin waiting to happen.

Predicted Team Sheet

The Clarets priority of course is Premier League survival this season and we find ourselves in a rather unique situation of considering player rotation and putting out a weakened side against lower league opposition in cup games .

We will not want to be embarrassed and lose this game. Confidence will be important with Chelsea and Liverpool away up next in the League.

Owen Coyle though will still want to win against the Pools whilst giving the opportunity to a number of players pushing for a place a chance to start:

‘I think it’s fair to say there will be a number of changes given that we have a one day recovery period between the games,.The lads that get selected will be ready to play and I believe they are very good players, so they will get an opportunity and we’ll take it from there.Given the nature of how quickly the game has come upon us the lads we will be bringing in are all first-team players who have got a big part to play.I think part of the reason we have done so well in the last two games is down to them and how hard they have been pushing the other lads on the training ground for their jerseys. Now, they will get an opportunity on Tuesday night which they are deserving of because I’ve seen how hard they have been working. It’s important that they take their training performances into the game and if they do that it will serve us well.’

Coyle has indicated that Eagles and Thompson will start. Steven Caldwell (groin) is not ready to play yet and Michael Duff is still understood to be sidelined with a ankle injury.

With virtually the whole squad though still to choose from with any number of permutations available in light of the fact that Coyle will make changes, a team sheet prediction is tricky.

I would think the following eighteen though should be a strong enough team to beat Hartlepool and if things are not working out we could always bring on some of the big guns from the bench:

Penny, Eckersley, Carlisle, Edgar, Easton, Eagles, Gudjonsson, McDonald, Guerrero, Fletcher, Thompson

Subs: Jenson, Mears, Kalvenes (or Jordan), Bikey, McCann, Elliot, Paterson (or Rodriguez)

Hartlepool United Team News:

We asked Vital Hartlepool Editor, PooliePoolie for an update:

‘Defender Ben Clark has been out since before the season started and is on the road to recovery but I think this game will come too soon for him. Midfielder Ritchie Jones is the other player missing for us, he returned from a groin injury on Saturday only to go and break his hand so he’s out for 3 weeks’

Player to watch: Denis Behan

We then asked PooliePoolie which players we needed to look out for and who was their main goal threat. He replied as follows:

‘The front two currently favoured at the club are Denis Behan and James Brown. Behan is a recent signing from Cork City and has impressed fans so far, he’s a big centre forward who takes no prisoners and the perfect foil for Brown who scored a real quality goal at the weekend. He’s been out for about 8 months so I’m not sure if we’ll rest him for the match but they’re our two main threats at present.’

Burnley Team News:

A number of rotational changes will be made tonight with Thompson and Eagles expected to start.Caldwell(groin)and Duff(ankle) are our only reported injuries.

Player to watch: Chris Eagles

Eagles has had little chance to shine this season and this will be an ideal opportunity for him to catch the eye and try and claim a regular start in the team.

Back to the Future

The last time we were in the top flight in the 1975-76 season we did rather well in the League Cup competition. After defeating Hereford away 4-1 we then got a great 1-1 draw at Anfield to bring Liverpool to Turf Moor for a replay. That season’s ultimate League Champions fell 1-0 to the Clarets in front of a crowd of 20022. Noble got both goals over the two games. We then defeated Leicester City at home 2-0 before being knocked out by Middlesbrough 2-0 at Turf Moor.

Hartlepool were struggling in the bottom tier of the Football League in 1975-6 and the 4th division side finished 14th that season.

We will want to forget the last time we played Hartlepool. They knocked us out of the Carling Cup by beating the Clarets 1-0 at Turf Moor back in August 2006

Match Prediction:

Although we will put out what some would say is a weakened side, I still think we will be too strong for the Pools and will win 2-1.

Next Match

Back to Premier League action and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday 29th August. ESPN are televising game so note also early kick-off at 12;45pm