Date: 13th August 2012 at 6:42pm
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Burnley visit Vale Park on Tuesday night to play League Two Port Vale in the first round of the Capital One Cup. Can they get the new season off to a good start?

The Pre-amble:

It is perhaps surprising that Burnley`s first game of the new 2012-13 season is actually a cup game but that`s the way the cookie crumbles. The Clarets are off to Vale Park on Tuesday night to play League 2 Port Vale in the first round of the newly sponsored Capital One Cup (formerly Carling Cup). Burnley have generally had a good pre-season with four wins out of five friendlies it is just a pity that they lost away 3-1 to League 2 Rochdale in the their final pre-season friendly last week. Hopefully that will not weigh too heavily on their mind as they prepare to face yet another League 2 club.

This will actually be the first time these two clubs have met in the league cup competition and indeed our only clash in 17 years was in the third round of the FA Cup, when Burnley won 4-2 at Turf Moor in January 2011.

Port Vale now managed by Micky Adams in his second spell with the club will be no pushovers and they will be keen to make an impression on home soil and claim a Championship scalp ahead of their new league campaign. The club have suffered significant financial hardship in recent times though and the club were issued with a winding up petition by HM Revenue and Customs on 29 February 2012 due to their inability to pay tax bills, creditors, or staff wages. The club entered administration in early March suffering a ten point deduction which left the club in mid-table dashing any hopes of promotion. The club remains without an owner for the start of the 2012-13 season.

Port Vale Team News:

Port Vale are likely to be without defender Gareth Owen. He limped off during the early stages of Saturday’s friendly draw with Tranmere with a slight hamstring problem. John McCombe, Clayton McDonald and Joe Davis though could all be in contention to replace him. One summer signing who will not be involved is David Artell. The defender left Vale over the weekend after refusing to sign the new contract terms agreed with the club’s administrators, the PFA and Football League. 17 Vale players though have signed the new deals including new summer signings Darren Murphy, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Ashley Vincent, Richard Duffy and Chris Neal who are all available to play tomorrow.

Player to watch: Richard Duffy

Clarets fans may well remember the centre back who spent some time on loan at Turf Moor. Duffy, now 26 is expected to make his full debut for the club against the Clarets on Tuesday night. It was Steve Cotterill who brought Duffy to Turf Moor on loan from Portsmouth at the beginning of the 2004-05 season initially for four weeks. Burnley fans were impressed by the former Swansea player`s excellent performances and the loan deal was extended into another month. Fans best memory of the player would probably be when he scored in the 2-1 win over Leeds United at Elland Road. Indeed he was certainly a versatile player whilst at Turf Moor and was even played a few times as a right winger. When his loan spell was over he returned to Fratton Park but spent most of his time out on loan again including four spells at Coventry and one with his original club, Swansea. In February 2009, the Welsh international joined Kenny Jackett’s Millwall on a contract until the end of the season before being released at the end of that season. Duffy then signed for newly promoted League One side Exeter City in July2009 before agreeing a two year contract with Port Vale in July 2012 thus rejoining his former boss at Coventry, Micky Adams.

Burnley Team News:

Eddie Howe has a number of selection headaches ahead of the game with four of his players on international duty and another two injured. Keith Treacy was selected for the Republic of Ireland squad but is actually also suffering from a slight groin injury that will keep him sidelined. Left back, Danny Lafferty and striker Martin Paterson are both in the Northern Ireland squad and new signing Sam Vokes has been called up by Wales. With both Pato and Vokes unavailable, our striking department has been severely weakened especially following the grim news that Danny Ings will be sidelined for three-six months after suffering a torn cartilage in the game at Spotland last week. Charlie Austin too missed training on Monday after returning to the south west on Saturday for his partner to give birth so he could also miss out whilst on paternal leave. There is some talk that Junior Stanislas could now be used as an emergency striker.

Howe might be tempted if not forced to blood some of his young guns in the cup games at these early stages against lower league opposition but one player who won`t feature against Port Vale is rising star, Cameron Howieson. He has had a hectic summer playing for New Zealand and being involved in their Olympic football campaign during London 2012. Eddie Howe is conscious that the player now needs a rest and has asked his young gun to not report back to Burnley until September. Another player out injured is midfielder Marvin Bartley (ankle)but with new signing Brian Stock now on board we can probably expect to see the former Doncaster Rovers midfielder make his debut for the club against Port Vale.

Player to watch: Brian Stock

All eyes will be on our new latest signing. The 30 year old midfielder only arrived from Doncaster Rovers on Saturday after penning a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee. Clarets fans will be keen to see how well he slots into the team ahead of the Championship campaign which starts on Saturday.

Team & Tactics:

With so many absentees due to international duty and injury, it is difficult to predict what sort of team Eddie Howe will put out on Tuesday night. Many of those players in their first full professional season and those on the periphery of the first team might get a chance to shine. The biggest headache is certainly in attack with only Alex MacDonald seemingly available to play up front unless Charlie Austin returns from paternity leave. Eddie Howe has also been experimenting with many strange formations and tactics in the pre-season friendlies including diamonds so again it is difficult to know exactly what the starting eleven will look like.

We can only take our clues from some of the recent starting elevens and look at those players that have featured the most in the pre-season games. Jason Shackell our new club captain looks likely to start in the back four probably playing alongside either Duff or Edgar in the centre of defence. With Lafferty on international duty, the left back position is likely to be filled by on-loan Reading defender, Joseph Mills although Ben Mee could also play there. Kieran Trippier would be the obvious choice at right back unless Howe feels Luke O`Neill needs more experience at this sort of level. The midfield almost picks itself but again there are numerous options now that Brian Stock has joined the club. Chris McCann could well take a back seat on the substitute`s bench allowing Stock to make his first start and debut for the club. With our attack so weakened and rumours that Stanislas could be used as an emergency striker, our wingers look likely to be Wallace and Porter. It looks like we will have no option but to have just the one striker up front unless Howe drafts in Alex MacDonald, who has actually been playing recently in midfield.

Ref Watch:

The referee will be Andy Haines from Tyne & Wear. Last season he was quite modest with his card showing. Just six players saw red with 104 picking up a yellow card from 35 games.

Match Prediction:

It is important we get off to a winning start in the new season campaign especially against a lower league side. We simply cannot afford any banana skills with the all important high-profile Championship opener against Bolton at Turf Moor coming up four days later. It would be good if confidence was high going into the clash against Owen Coyle`s mob and to be honest we should have enough depth of quality in the squad to brush aside Port Vale and march into the next round despite the missing players on international duty and our injuries. 3-1 Clarets sounds an appropriate result!

Next Match::

The Championship campaign gets off to a blistering start with none other than Owen Coyle`s relegated Bolton the visitors to Turf Moor on Saturday 18th August (Kick-Off-3pm)