The Clarets will be hoping to hand out some more Midlands Mayhem this Saturday. After disposing of West Brom 3-1 at Turf Moor in the FA Cup 4th Round Replay in midweek, they now face Birmingham in a Championship battle at St Andrews.
Setting the Scene
Having gone five games in the Championship without a win, the 2-1 victory against bottom club Charlton at home last Saturday will have also bolstered confidence with the Clarets once more in the frame to try and secure a play-offs place come the end of the season.
Burnley are currently in 8th place with 46 points, 3 points behind 6th placed Preston with a game in hand after the Lilywhites could only muster a home draw against Plymouth in midweek. A win tomorrow would also bring us closer to 3rd placed Birmingham currently on 56 points.
This will not be an easy game (none are in the Championship with anybody capable of beating anybody else!) although at least we now seemed to have turned a corner and appear to be on the up again.
Rhys Williams our new loan from Middlesbrough will be available to play in the back four again. He was not eligible to play against the Baggies in the FA Cup replay in midweek having signed after the first match at the Hawthorns.
Stephen Jordan though still looks to be sidelined with his knee injury so once again Christian Kalvenes will be his able deputy at left back.
Chris Eagles also missed out in midweek with a chest infection and Coyle will be hoping he will be fit to play. He had looked jaded recently although this may have had more to do with the chest infection which apparently he has been carrying for quite a few games. Most Clarets fans thought he might simply be tired after so many games recently with the Clarets notching up 41 games now so far this season (more than Manchester United, his former club by all accounts)
There is also news from Turf Moor that a nasty bug is doing the rounds.
Steven Caldwell played 90 minutes suffering from a virus on Tuesday night after vomiting during the day.
Another three players in the team that played against the Baggies are also understood to have picked up the lurgy and they were all told to stay at home and not train on Thursday.
Coyle will be hoping the rest has done the trick but he was naming no names in an effort to keep Brum gaffer, Alex McLeish guessing.
Predicting the team is difficult with the uncertainty regarding the players affected by the bug but let`s assume they all make it.
Coyle could have a difficult selection to make if they are all available although if Eagles makes it, Kevin McDonald could be the midfielder to lose his place after an indifferent performance on Tuesday night.
Coyle would also find it difficult to drop Steven Thompson, who has now scored a brace in each of the last two games and with Robbie Blake having his best spell at the club in ages, I suspect the team will look something like this:
Jensen, Williams, Duff, Caldwell, Kalvenes, Alexander, Elliott, McCann, Eagles, Blake, Thompson
Subs: Penny, Carlisle, Gudjonsson, McDonald, Paterson
Some might be surprised that I would drop Paterson but he too has looked a little jaded and off the pace in recent games. He looks in need of a rest to me.
Birmingham City Team News:
Carlos Costly could make his debut for Brum with James McFadden sidelined with a knee injury. The Scottish International forward was ruled out for two months with medial knee ligament damage.Let`s hope that`s a Costly mistake! (Sorry couldn`t resist).
Stephen Kelly left the club to join Stoke this week so Sebastian Larsson will stand in at right back since Stuart Parnaby is still out injured. Striker Garry O’Connor is also still out with a groin problem
Winger, Gary McSheffrey could return though for this clash after fully recovering from a knee problem.
Player to watch: Kevin Phillips
Veteran striker Kevin Phillips will be the usual danger man. He might be 35 now but he is still scoring for fun and already has 12 goals this season alone. He scored 38 goals in 71 appearances for West Brom last season before signing a two year contract with Birmingham in July 2008.
Burnley Team News:
Middlesbrough loan, Rhys Williams is available again after being ineligible to play in the FA Cup game in midweek.
Jordan is sidelined still with a knee injury and we await news of Chris Eagles who has been suffering from a chest infection. Other players have been sent home with a virus so we shall have to see who recovers in time.
Player to watch: Robbie Blake
The master magician with the red underpants certainly weaved his magic on Tuesday night with a dazzling display. He seems to be having his best spell for the club at the moment and long may it continue.
Last Time We Met
We drew 1-1 at Turf Moor this season back in October 2008 with Chris McCann getting our goal.
The last time we played them at St Andrews was in their promotion season of 2006/7 when the Clarets came away with a surprise 1-0 victory during a time when Burnley under Steve Cotterill were beginning to hit form again after a lean spell that had seen the team go 19 games without a win.
Keith Stroud (Dorset)
We might just shade this one but a 1-1 draw looks more on the cards
The Midlands sequence of games continues with high-flyers and current leaders, Wolverhampton Wanderers the visitors to Turf Moor on Saturday 14th February (3pm KO)