Burnley play bottom club, Bristol City at Turf Moor on Saturday acutely aware that anything less than a win could see the Clarets remarkably embroiled in a relegation dogfight!
In a topsy turvy season when the play-offs at one time beckoned, Clarets fans just got used to the idea of a mid-table finish when all of a sudden the bottom clubs started winning. Now Burnley just four points clear of the drop zone face a possible relegation battle unless they can beat bottom club Bristol City at Turf Moor this Saturday. No pressure then! I mean we have not won at home since we beat Palace back in January seven long games ago! It is still mathematical possible if we move in the right direction that we could still reach the play-offs although it is highly unlikely considering we are already ten points behind the sixth-placed club , Brighton with just six games left to play. More worrying is the fact that third from bottom club, Huddersfield are just four points behind the Clarets although both have now played the same number of goals. Nevertheless some clear blue water between us and the drop zone would be very welcome otherwise the run in to the end of our season could become very nervy indeed. Standing in our way on Saturday are Sean O’Driscoll`s men who quite frankly have had a torrid season. They are currently propping up the Championship with just 40 points from 40 games! That is eleven points behind the Clarets and seven points from safety. Their recent form though is not too bad considering. They beat Middlesbrough at home 2-0 but that has been their only win in six games although they have also picked up three draws. In terms of their performances on the road though only one point from six games has been achieved so the Clarets really have to stamp their authority. Come on lads for heaven`s sake!!
Burnley Team News:
Dean Marney could return after recovering from the calf injury that has kept him out of contention for the last six games. Left back Ben Mee (knee) and centre back Michael Duff (calf) though could miss out. Mee in particular is a serious doubt after injuring himself once again in the Easter Monday clash at home to Forest. There has been no mention of the potential replacement for Ben Mee, Daniel Lafferty. He didn`t even make the eighteen last Monday night so if he is indeed injured, Joseph Mills could be set for a rare start.
Player to watch: Junior Stanislas
He won our Star Player award after the Forest game on Easter Monday but boy does he still blow hot and cold! At his best, he is so impressive and his worst such a disappointment! Time to string at least two impressive performances together.
Bristol City Team News:
Robins` striker Sam Baldock and skipper Cole Skuse look set for a late fitness test ahead of their trip up north. Meanwhile defender, Richard Foster is back in training following an Achilles problem and could feature. Ryan Taylor looks likely to miss out again. The forward hasn’t featured since January after breaking his collarbone.
Player to watch: Steve Davies
No not the snooker player! This one is the 25 year-old striker who joined the Robins from fellow championship club Derby County in August and who is now the club`s top scorer this season with 12 Championship goals to his name so far! The former Tranmere forward will need to be kept at bay if the Clarets want to notch up another double for the season. He was one of the goal scorers in the reverse fixture at Ashton Gate back in October earlier in the season along with two others but thankfully Burnley scored four times to win 4-3 thanks to a last minute goal.
Team & Tactics:
I so hope we start with Vokes and Austin again up front in the more aggressive 4-4-2 formation. If we can get our noses in front a Robins` team probably low in confidence could buckle. Dyche has one or two options depending on the injury situation but I would opt for the following :
Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Long, Lafferty (or Mills), Wallace, Bartley (or Marney), McCann, Stanislas, Vokes, Austin
Subs: Jensen, Lafferty (or Mills), Stock, Edgar, Kacaniklic, Paterson, Ings
Nottinghamshire referee, James Adcock is in charge of this crucial game. It better not be a bad omen but his last game in charge of a match involving the Clarets was out 3-1 defeat away to League One, Swindon in the Carling Cup back in September last year. A total of six yellow cards were shown that day although his overall card count this season has been reasonably modest. Five players have been sent off in his 31 games in charge with another 87 having seen yellow!
Oh come on, for heaven`s sake if we can`t beat this lot then we deserve all we get including a relegation scrap! 4-1 Clarets!
A trip to the coast to face local rivals Blackpool at Bloomfield Road beckons next! We play the Tangerines on Saturday 13th April (Kick-Off: 3pm)