The Clarets busy November schedule completes on Tuesday night with Ipswich Town the visitors to Turf Moor.
The Clarets amazing win at Hull on Saturday thankfully brought to an end a bad run of games. A loss on Saturday against the Tigers, with third-from-bottom club, Bristol City also beating league leaders, Southampton 2-0 at Ashton Gate, would have meant the Clarets would now be in the bottom three and licking their wounds on the back of five consecutive defeats. That looked a distinct possibility at one point on Saturday with the side playing badly, the score 2-0 to Hull and just fifteen minutes to play. A miracle though happened and we came back from the dead to win 3-2 thanks to an Edgar brace and a late goal in added time from Rodriguez.
The surprise victory lifted the club to 16th position in the table and away from the drop-zone. It is so tight in this division though and we are still only two points clear of the bottom three. The good news though is that we are also only six points away from the play-offs positions so there is still all to play for.
It is all a matter now of finding some consistency and avoiding the defensive blunders that has cost us so much this season. The win at Hull should boost the team`s confidence but it so vital now to get a run together and continue our move up the table. They have an ideal opportunity on Tuesday night when they face struggling Ipswich Town at Turf Moor.
The Tractor Boys are on a bad run having lost five games on the spin with only one win on the road in six games. Ipswich Town boss Paul Jewell is clearly also struggling to get his side to play with any consistency and they have now plummeted to 18th in the table. They are however only one point behind the Clarets and have a game in hand so we will need to be careful against them on Tuesday night; there are no easy games in this division and form-books can often be chucked out of the window! There can however be no excuses on Tuesday night if we don`t come away with all three points.
Burnley Team News:
Ross Wallace picked up a fifth yellow card against Hull at the KC Stadium on Saturday. He therefore received an automatic one-man suspension so will be sidelined for the Ipswich game.
Midfielder, Dean Marney came on to replace Chris McCann in the midweek game against Birmingham at St Andrews last week and almost immediately picked up an injury. It looked like he would have to come off at one point but he soldiered on and seemed to shake off the problem. However, he was not named in the sixteen for the Hull City game on Saturday suggesting Eddie Howe was not taking any chances. It remains to be seen whether he is back in contention for a place on Tuesday night.
Martin Paterson (thigh)is well on track to making a return and could be available before Christmas. He is currently being considered for behind-close-doors mates and Reserves games. Brian Jensen is back in training. He picked up a groin injury away to Peterborough back in September and has not featured since. Striker, Danny Ings who has yet to make his debut for the Clarets is also making good progress and could be available to play in the New Year after he fully recovers from his cartilage injury.
Meanwhile Charlie Austin will now undergo what the club has described as a series of make-or-break tests following his dislocated shoulder. The early prognosis was better than first thought with no fractures found and the shoulder slipping back into place without having to be forced. The striker also had a series of extensive scans on his left shoulder on Friday and no serious damage was found. Austin will now be carefully monitored by the physio team and will face a series of tests to decide if he can recover naturally without breaking down and requiring surgery. The club have not placed a timescale on his expected return.
Player to watch: David Edgar
With Edgar showing his attacking prowess against Hull on Saturday, you just wonder if he might get the opportunity against Ipswich to add to the brace he scored against the Tigers. It would certainly be remarkable if he did considering he had not scored for the Clarets at all until last Saturday. His proper job though is to defend and recently he has fallen short in that task. We simply have to tighten up our defence and find some consistency. Edgar has a big part to play in that and quite simply he needs to improve if he is to keep his place in the side. At least I think that but I am not sure Eddie Howe does since he continues to sideline Amougou and has even overlooked Mee recently as an option for the centre of defence.
Ipswich Town Team News:
Ipswich Town manager Paul Jewell has ruled out both keeper David Stockdale and captain Grant Leadbitter from Tuesday night`s clash at Turf Moor. Stockdale missed his first league game of the season after injuring his shoulder in training last Monday. Richard Wright looks set to continue in goal after returning to Portman Road and making his third debut for the club in the defeat at home to Reading last Saturday.
25 year old midfielder, Grant Leadbitter is suffering from a groin injury and looks set to miss the Burnley game. He picked up the injury late on against Reading and was replaced by on-loan Manchester City striker Reece Wabara.
Jewell has also stated that there are one or two other niggling knocks and injuries they are monitoring ahead of Tuesday night.
Centre-back Ibrahima Sonko has been sidelined for the last three matches suffering from a torn hamstring but he did return to training last Thursday and stands an outside chance of being considered for the Clarets game according to the Ipswich gaffer.
Irish centre-back Damien Delaney however is still in a protective boot following surgery on a fractured foot and could be out for at least another three weeks.
Player to watch: Michael Chopra
Chopra signed for Ipswich in June 2011 from Cardiff City for £1 million after agreeing a three-year deal. The 27 year old striker is currently the club`s leading goal-scorer with six goals so far this season including a brace in his debut against Bristol City at Ashton Gate. All his goals have come in the Championship.
The former Newcastle and Sunderland striker can be prolific in front of goal. In his four spells at Cardiff City (2 on loan), he scored a total of 58 goals in 141 appearances, a rate of one goal every 2-3 games.
Team & Tactics:
Eddie Howe may well be tempted to select a similar sixteen to the one that defeated Hull City at the KC Stadium on Saturday. He will however be without Ross Wallace who is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card in the Hull clash. His options formation wise could therefore be limited since Wallace often seems to take on the role of playing in-the-hole behind a lone striker. I suspect his absence could mean a definite 4-4-2 formation. That would require two recognised wingers to be in the starting eleven and with Wallace sidelined or only option would appear to be starting Stanislas and Treacy. Junior Stanislas continues to put in disappointing performances and after his poor display against Hull, he might have expected to have been dropped but he now appears to have been given a lifeline now that Wallace is sidelined.
The other question is whether we will continue with Ben Mee at left back. He replaced Brian Easton who was dropped to the bench at the weekend. Mee did not have a particular good game to be honest but I suspect Howe will not make any changes to the back four. Why change a winning team?
With no news of any further knocks or injuries from the Hull game, I suspect the line-up will look something like this in a 4-4-2 formation:
Grant, Trippier, Edgar, Duff, Mee, Treacy, McCann, Bartley, Stanislas, Rodriguez, Vokes
Subs: Stewart, Easton, Amougou, Marney (if fit), Hines
Nigel Miller from County Durham will be in charge of this game. In his 17 games so far this season, he has shown red twice and handed out 52 yellow cards. Ominously for Clarets fans, his last game involving Burnley was last season in our clash at home to Reading. We shall have to hope that is not a bad omen considering we were tonked 4-0 by the Royals that day. Cort was also sent off after picking up two yellow cards and Cork and Elliott were also shown a yellow card.
After the stunning comeback from 2-0 down to beat Hull City 3-2 at the weekend, everybody is talking about this performance kick-starting our season again. How disappointing it will be therefore to drop any points against Ipswich on Tuesday night. Two points off the drop-zone but also only six points off the play offs, a win over the Tractor Boys will do the lads a power of good with second=place West Ham coming up in London on Saturday.
Clarets fans need a convincing win at home more than anything to cheer them up and it would be nice for once to keep a clean sheet. Bearing in mind also the recent poor form of Ipswich, I will go for a 3-0 win. We simply have to start playing with some consistency and avoid conceding both early and late goals. The team needs to start performing well over 90 minutes instead of just in patches and of course our defence needs to tighten up considerably if we are to move from a mid-table side threatened with relegation to a mid-table side pressing for a play-offs spot.
Burnley face a tricky game in London on Saturday 3rd December. They play high-flying West Ham at the Boleyn Ground (Kick-Off: 3pm)