The Clarets return to Championship duty on Tuesday night with a trip to the Keepmoat to face Doncaster Rovers. They will be keen to pick up another three points after a successful start by new manager, Eddie Howe.
Eddie Howe`s reign at Turf Moor has got off to a great start with two wins and one draw in his first three games since joining Burnley as the new manager earlier this month. Can he keep the momentum going and plot the Clarets third away win of the season against a struggling Doncaster Rovers side at the Keepmoat?
The sad fact remains that really we have to win to keep up our challenge for promotion. We are currently in 10th spot with 40 points from 27 games. That is just five points behind 6th placed Leeds United who have also played a game more. We really have to keep the consistency going and try and get our first back-to-back league win of the season following our triumph last Tuesday night away to Pompey.
In terms of automatic promotion, we play second-placed Norwich City at Turf Moor on Saturday and a win at Doncaster could set us up nicely for that clash. The Canaries are currently eight points clear of the Clarets but have also played one game more than Burnley. They too have a midweek match on Tuesday night and face Millwall at Carrow Road.
Sean O`Driscoll`s men have had a torrid time of late and have managed to pick up just one point in their last four league games as well as being unceremoniously dumped out of the FA Cup following a 5-0 thumping away to Premier league club, Wolves in a replay. They have also lost their last two home games including a 2-0 defeat to local South Yorkshire rivals, Barnsley last Tuesday night. The Clarets will be hoping to maintain the pressure and come away with all three points. Rovers are currently in 16th position in the table with 34 points from 26 games so they have a game in hand over the Clarets at the moment but nevertheless are still six points behind them.
Doncaster Rovers Team News:
There is no news of any injury concerns for Sean O`Driscoll but if we hear any before the match we will bring them to you below this article.
Player to watch: Billy Sharp
Sharp missed the home game back in November due to a hamstring injury but is now back in the team and is Doncaster`s leading goal scorer with 12 league goals so far. The 24 year old currently lies 5th in the Npower Championship Top Scorers table. Former manager, Brian Laws tried to sign Sharp for Burnley in the summer transfer window but lost out to Sean O`Driscoll. Doncaster signed the former Sheffield United and Scunthorpe United striker for a club record fee of £1.15m in July 2010 following a loan spell with the club.
Burnley Team News:
Eddie Howe looks likely to give his new signing Charlie Austin his debut against Doncaster Rovers.
Chris McCann appears to now be the only injury at the moment and he won`t be available for another month or so yet after a long haul following corrective surgery to fix his cruciate ligament last year.
Player to watch: Charlie Austin
All Clarets fans will be eager to see how our new signing performs up front for Burnley assuming Howe gives him his debut on Tuesday night. The hot shot striker signed from Swindon was second in the Npower League One Top Scorers table with 12 goals.
Team & Tactics
Howe could be tempted to keep virtually the same eighteen for the third game in a row following our second away win of the season against Portsmouth last Tuesday night and the FA Cup victory over Burton at Turf Moor on Saturday.
The big question for Howe though is which forward line will he select? He must surely be tempted to give Charlie Austin his debut for the Clarets and name him in the starting eleven. Will Austin though be playing alone up front or will he have a strike partner? Will Chris Iwelumo still be a Clarets player after the January window closes on Monday? Are Preston still interested in our leading goal-scorer? Even if Iwelumo leaves the club that still leaves Martin Paterson, Steven Thompson and Jay Rodriguez to consider up front.
Martin Paterson will certainly remember our last game against Doncaster Rovers. He had to be substituted at the break when we played them at home back in November after picking up a thigh strain. The injury proved to be a persistent, niggling problem; so much so, Pato was sidelined until last Saturday when he finally made a return in the FA Cup game against Burton Albion after coming on from the bench in the second half. He also scored our third goal late into added time to help Burnley secure a 3-1 victory over the League 2 minnows so will be hoping he is back in contention for the match at the Keepmoat.
Howe then could have a major headache deciding who to play up front but my preference would be to try Austin & Paterson together in a true 4-4-2 with Eagles continuing in a free-roaming role in midfield just behind the strikers.
So here goes:
Grant, Mears, Duff, Carlisle, Fox, Eagles, Cork, Marney, Elliott, Austin, Paterson
Subs: Jensen, Bikey, Edgar, Alexander, Wallace, Thompson, Rodriguez (or Iwelumo)
The team selection of course may well change also should Eddie Howe carry out a last minute deal or two on the final day of the January transfer window which closes on
28-year-old Oliver Langford (West Midlands) is in his first season as a National list referee, after three seasons as an assistant. He started refereeing in 1995 at age of 15 in the Midlands progressing through the Midland Combination and Midland Football Association leagues.
He has been in charge of 21 games this season at Championship or lower league level and has handed out 55 yellow cards and two reds
A win would put us in great shape and keep the momentum going under new manager, Eddie Howe. Doncaster have struggled in recent games and lost their last two matches at home. I think we will win for once over Donny and I am looking forward to a 2-0 away win, our third victory on the road of the season!
A tricky home game against second-placed club, Norwich City is up next on Saturday 5th February (3pm Kick-Off)