The Clarets continue their Carling Cup campaign in a third round tie against League 1, MK Dons at Turf Moor on Tuesday night. They will be hoping for a more convincing win than the last two rounds with both those games against League 2 sides, Burton Albion and Barnet going into extra time.
Can the Clarets progress to the fourth round of the Carling Cup on Tuesday night? Well they should do with League 1, MK Dons the visitors.
The club, players and fans need a comprehensive win to cheer everybody up after a pretty torrid season so far. Anything less than a win would be a total knock to our confidence with the club at the wrong end of the Championship table and at the moment avoiding the drop zone by one place on goal difference. A banana skin at this stage against lower league opposition would not bode well for our next game against league leaders, Southampton at Turf Moor on Saturday.
It won`t be easy against MK Dons. Karl Robinson`s team are on a high in this competition after thumping Premier League side, Norwich City 4-0 at Carrow Road in the previous round. Admittedly Norwich did field a weakened side but even so it was a comprehensive victory against a team two leagues above them on away soil. MK Dons are also doing pretty well in League 1 too and their confidence could be pretty high. They reached the play-offs last season but lost out at the semi final stage going down 4-3 on aggregate over two legs against Peterborough. This season they have also started well and are currently in 4th spot with 17 points from 8 games.
The Clarets on the other hand have made pretty unimpressive progress in our previous Carling Cup rounds which have both been against League 2 opposition at home. The defence was leaky in both games against Burton Albion and Barnet and in both cases we surrendered a two goal lead late on to ensure extra time had to be played. In the end we beat Burton comprehensively 6-3 and scraped through to beat Barnet 3-2 but there were less than convincing wins to say the least. We have now gone 20 games without keeping a clean sheet and we simply have to rectify that problem at some stage this season.
Burnley Team News:
Eddie Howe looks forced into making changes to his team selection for this clash. We have started the same eleven players for the last three games but there were a few knocks and injuries in the last game away to Peterborough last Saturday. Brian Jensen limped off with a groin injury in the 17th minute at London Road and could need some time to recover. Third-string goalkeeper, Jon Stewart could be named on the bench for the MK Dons game.
Ben Mee was knocked unconscious late on in the Posh game and at one point looked set to be stretchered off with back support. The physio though managed to work his magic and Mee continued for the rest of the game with all the substitutions having already been made by Howe. It is possible though that as a precaution, Howe may rest Mee for the MK Dons clash after his ordeal.
Dean Marney too we found out has been suffering from a stomach complaint which could explain why his performances of late have been pretty woeful. Bartley could be given a start.
Martin Paterson (thigh), Danny Ings (cartilage) and Michael Duff (knee) are also still sidelined recovering from their injuries.Junior Stanislas is also cup tied
Player to watch: Zavon Hines
I would like to see Hines make a start replacing either Jay Rodriguez or Charlie Austin both of whom have been underpar recently
MK Dons Team News:
Defender, Gary MacKenzie starts an automatic three-match bed after being given a straight red card and conceding a penalty for stamping on Alan Lee in MK Dons last game at home to Huddersfield. The penalty at least was saved but the game still finished up a draw at 1-1.
News is awaited regarding the injury to new striker, Charlie MacDonald. MacDonald only signed from Brentford last month, missed MK Dons last game after being injured in the previous game against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough. The MK Dons had a miserable game against the Owls going down 3-1, losing MacDonald to injury and also having fellow striker, Jabo Ibehre sent off for two bookable offences. Ibehre though will be available for the Burnley clash after sitting out the Huddersfield game following his automatic one-match suspension.
Player to watch: Dean Bowditch
MK Dons have two former Burnley loan players in their side, midfielder, Luke Chadwick and striker, Dean Bowditch. Both players have been finding the net for MK Dons this season with 5 and 3 goals respectively so far in all competitions. Today though, we will focus on Dean Bowditch. Bowditch, now 25 you may remember was seen as a great prospect when he played for Ipswich but somehow it never really happened for him after he sustained a number of injuries and then spent most of his time at Portman Road out on loan. One such loan, his first was at Burnley, when Steve Cotterill brought him to Turf Moor in March 2005. He basically flattered to deceive and in the 8 games he featured could only muster one goal before he returned to Portman Road in May 2005. Further loans followed at Wycombe, Brighton, Northampton, Brighton (again) and finally Brentford before he made a permanent move to Yeovil Town in July 2009. His goal-scoring touch at least returned during his stay at the League 1 club and he hit a strike rate of about 1-in-3 scoring 71 goals in 25 appearances. MK Dons signed him in June 2011 giving him a two-year deal after he had rejected Yeovil`s offer of a new contract.
Team & Tactics:
Eddie Howe in earlier rounds does not appear to have experimented always fielding his strongest team at the time. His hand may be forced to some extent this time though following the injuries on Saturday against Posh (see above). We can field seven substitutes in this game, but with the injuries and so many players out on loan we might struggle to fill the bench. There will certainly be a strong reliance on the Development squad including third-string keeper, Jon Stewart, should Jensen still be sidelined with his groin injury. It is probably just as well that Alex-Ray Harvey has also just returned from his month loan spell at Fleetwood.
Howe has selected the same starting eleven for the last three games. The victory at Derby before the international break was a feather in their cap but the last two games have shown up a lot of poor individual performances and surely now even with the injuries it is time to wring the changes.
I do not for one minute think Howe will agree with my selection but I would go with the following starting eleven and have a pretty strong bench in case Plan A does not work:
Grant, Trippier, Amougou, Edgar (Mee if fit), Easton, Treacy, McCann, Bartley, Wallace, Austin, Hines,
Subs: Stewart, Edgar (if Mee fit), Rodriguez, Knowles, Harvey, Hewitt, MacDonald
I would certainly like to see 4-4-2 with at least one change in the front two.
Cheshire referee, Scott Mathieson will be in charge of this one. Mathieson has already handed out 25 cards in 8 games so far this season at Championship, lower league and Carling Cup level but so far only one red card. His last game in charge of a match featuring the Clarets was our home game against Bristol City back in September 2010. The match finished 0-0 and no cards at all were handed out that day!
This has to be a comprehensive victory and it would be nice to keep a clean sheet! Just can`t see the latter but I am hopeful of the former so 3-1 Clarets! Please no extra time!
Back to Championship duty and a big test for the Clarets this Saturday with current league leaders, Southampton the visitors to Turf Moor on the 24th September (Kick-Off:3pm). No doubt also they will have Danny Fox and Jack Cork on display just to rub in the wounds!