Burnley will take on Brighton & Hove Albion at Turf Moor this Saturday, hoping to get their Championship campaign back on track, following two back-to-back defeats on the road.
The Clarets have been struggling of late with just three points from their three Championship games so far. The superb 2-0 victory over Bolton in the season opener now seems like an eternity ago following two successive defeats on the road against Middlesbrough and then Huddersfield. The performance rather than the 2-0 defeat was the most disappointing last Saturday in the John Smith`s Stadium with the Clarets looking slow and plodding. It was a million miles away from the dizzy heights of that Bolton game when we looked so motivated and powerful. Eddie Howe will be hoping to get things back on track against Brighton at Turf Moor this Saturday and he won`t have been impressed by the midweek victory over League Two Plymouth in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night. Well, yes we did qualify for the third round but we made hard work of it needing a penalty shoot out to secure victory with the scores remaining level at 1-1 after extra time. To be fair Howe wrung many changes for this clash and only Charlie Austin kept his place in the starting eleven. A lot of the fringe players and young guns were given their chance and in many ways failed to raise their game although it was pleasing to see the performances from Luke O`Neill, Steven Hewitt and Marvin Bartley. We can expect a totally different team lining up against Brighton and one that hopefully can repeat the performance they showed against the Trotters.
Brighton have had a slightly better start to their league campaign compared to Burnley but they have yet to win away having lost 3-0 away to Swindon in the Capital One Cup first round before going down 1-0 at Hull in their Championship opener. Gus Poyet`s men will however have been lifted by their 5-1 thumping of Barnsley in the Amex Stadium on Saturday. They also picked up a point at home to Cardiff in their previous game and on four points from three games are currently tenth in the table.
Burnley Team News:
Martin Paterson is currently recovering from a minor grade one hamstring pull and could be back in contention this Saturday. Fellow striker, Danny Ings though of course will be out of action for some months yet following his torn cartilage. There are no reports of any further injury concerns for Eddie Howe following Tuesday night`s game.
Player to watch: Sam Vokes
Striker, Sam Vokes could line-up against his former team mates on Saturday. Vokes, on loan at Burnley in the first part of last season finished up at Brighton on loan in the second half. His move to Burnley on a permanent basis from Wolves in the summer has still to reap dividends with Vokes still looking for his first league goal this season. He did however score from the spot in last Tuesday night`s penalty shoot out. Hopefully Vokes can give Eddie Howe some tactical advice on the opposition and if he could score a goal against the Seagulls, his confidence could soar.
Brighton & Hove Albion Team News:
Winger, Will Buckley could be close to making a return after suffering from a hamstring problem. Vicente though could still miss out after picking up a groin injury in the Capital One Cup game away to Swindon and feeling unfit since. Striker, Will Hoskins is out too after fracturing his foot in pre-season training. He was expected to be sidelined for up to six weeks.
Player to watch: Wayne Bridge
32 year old left back Wayne Bridge seems to be relishing his season-long loan move from Manchester City to Brighton & Hove Albion and so far this season he has been an ever-present for the Seagulls. The England international scored his first goal since January 2007 in Brighton’s 5-1 win over Barnsley on Saturday and the Clarets will need to be on their guard against him this Saturday.
Team & Tactics:
Will Eddie Howe be tempted to start some of the fringe players who did reasonably well against Plymouth in midweek? Steven Hewitt could be in contention for a place although probably only on the bench. Lucas O`Neill also had a pretty good game but you can`t see him keeping Trippier sidelined. Man of the Match was probably midfielder, Marvin Bartley but could he start ahead of McCann and Marney with Brian Stock also regularly in the eighteen? The other question relates to Martin Paterson. He has been sidelined recently with a minor hamstring tweak with suggestions he could be in contention this Saturday. Although fellow striker, Sam Vokes has also been less than impressive so far I suspect Howe will keep with a Vokes/Austin combination up front with Pato possibly on the bench. Keith Treacy could well miss out altogether following a poor performance on Tuesday night. The former Preston winger was replaced at half-time. The eighteen will most certainly more resemble the line-up against Huddersfield than Plymouth though and it`s a question of whether Howe wishes to change the starting eleven in light of the lacklustre performance against the Terriers.
Although Howe has quite a few options, I will predict the line-up will look something like this: Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Edgar, Mills, Wallace, McCann, Marney, Stanislas, Vokes, Austin
Subs: Jensen, Duff, Mee, Bartley, Stock, Hewitt, Paterson
Tyne & Wear referee, Eddie Ilderton gets this game! His last game involving the Clarets was our last match of the 2011-12 season when we drew 1-1 at home to Bristol City. Two yellow cards were shown that day and Ilderton finished his tally for the season on 79 yellows and 6 reds from 37 games. Already this season in three games he has sent one player off and shown yellow 14 times.
It is vital the Clarets get back on track after two successive away defeats in our last two league games and a less than impressive win on penalties in the Capital One Cup against Plymouth at Turf Moor last Tuesday night. It should be a formality if we play anything like we did against Bolton in the league season opener but will we? Anything less and we could struggle against the Seagulls especially if we play as bad as we did against Huddersfield in the John Smiths Stadium last Saturday. I think though the Clarets will raise their game and that we will come out victors 2-1. I hope so anyway!
There is an International break now but the Clarets Championship campaign continues on Saturday 15th September with a home game against Peterborough United (Kick-Off: 3pm)