The Clarets will be desperate to get back on track at home this Saturday with struggling Hull City the visitors. Last Saturday at home to Wigan we lost our 100% home record in the Premier League and we certainly can`t afford to drop too many points at home especially against sides likely to be competing with us to avoid relegation come the end of the season. We are currently in 11th spot with 12 points from 10 games, four more than Hull.
The Tigers have certainly had one ‘Hulluva` week and at one point it was touch and go whether their manager, Phil Brown would be leading his team out at Turf Moor this Saturday. The club are in desperate straits both on and off the pitch. They are currently third from bottom with Tigers fans baying for blood and vocally telling Brown ‘He Doesn`t Know What He`s Doing`. The upshot is that Phil Brown appears to have been given an ultimatum and a two-match breathing space. It is understood that Brown has been told he will be out of work if Hull are still in the drop zone a week on Sunday so we could have a big part to play in Brown`s future this Saturday.
Predicted Team Sheet
Our biggest injury concern at the moment is Brian Jensen. He limped off the pitch against Wigan in a bizarre incident where he seemed to go over on his ankle whilst in two minds whether to stay or come out for a Mario Melchiot cross. He did neither and collapsed to the ground in agony allowing Wigan`s Hugo Rodallega to equalise with a simple tap-in. A scan later revealed it was not too serious but that he did have a slight ankle ligament injury. The clubs have been coy in announcing whether he will be fit to play this Saturday although Coyle has indicated that if he is fit he will play despite ‘The Beast` being inconsistent recently between the sticks.
My concern is that Jensen has looked a bit weary recently and indecisive. He seems to have made quite a few mistakes since recovering from a dead-leg injury in the Carling Cup defeat at Barnsley last month. His confidence appears to have been rocked a bit which is not surprising after the tonkings we have received so far on the road plus the bitter disappointment of losing to Rovers at Ewood Park.
It could be a good time to rest Jensen anyway and give Diego Penny an extended run-out to bolster his confidence, certainly against Hull City who are not likely to pose too much of a threat. Penny looks to be playing well; he had a good game in the Reserves recently against Manchester City making a number of good saves including twice from a penalty that had to be retaken. He also put in a competent performance when he replaced Jensen against Wigan. He looked solid and confident commanding his area and marshalling the back four. I doubt though he will play if Jensen is fit, which I think will be a mistake.
There are no further reported injury concerns and we don`t have any suspensions. We are still of course without the services of Paterson (torn cartilage), McCann (medial ligament damage) and Rodriguez (fractured ankle) and probably won`t see any of them feature until the Christmas period and New Year.
I suspect if Jensen is fit we will put out the same sixteen selected for the Wigan game with Coyle giving them one more chance to shine on home soil. We can therefore expect the following line-up:
Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Alexander, Eagles, Elliott, Bikey, Blake, Fletcher
Subs: Penny, Duff, Gudjonsson, McDonald, Guerrero, Nugent, Thompson
Nothing less than a win will do and if we fail this time, Coyle really does need to consider some radical changes to the side with two tricky away games to follow against Manchester City and West Ham.
Burnley Team News:
News is awaited on the fitness of Brian Jensen after a scan this week revealed he had slight ankle ligament damage. Paterson, McCann and Rodriguez are long-term absentees. Stephen Jordan has a slight thigh injury but is expected to play
Player to watch: Graham Alexander
Graham Alexander will make his 100th appearance for the Clarets if selected to play against Hull this Saturday. He needs to put in an impressive performance too if he is to retain his place. It has to be said that recently he does appear to have been showing his age The 38 year old holding midfielder has been prone to making mistakes recently, with his passing going astray far too often giving the ball away in dangerous positions and allowing the opposition to put us under pressure via counter-attacks.
He doesn`t of course have the pace these days and we could probably no longer risk him in the back four, so he has to make his mark in midfield this season.
Improvements are needed if Grezza wants to retain his place especially with other younger players eager and willing to take over.
Hull City Team News:
Hull City`s keeper, Boaz Myhill will miss the clash against the Clarets this Saturday. He tweaked his medial ligament towards the end of Hull`s last game against Portsmouth at home and has been unable to train all week after hobbling around on crutches. Phil Brown will have to choose between the two deputy keepers. Matt Duke looks the favourite and he enjoyed a good 10 game spell with the Tigers last season. Tony Warner is the other option but he has yet to make his debut despite being on the bench a few times this season for Hull.
The Tigers had hoped that midfielder Jimmy Bullard would have been fit enough for the Clarets match to make his first start this season but he too is now looking doubtful. Bullard completed a move to Hull City for £5 million from Fulham in January 2009 and is a club record signing. He has been plagued with injuries though and is currently still struggling with a knock he picked up in a reserve outing last week. According to Hull`s official site, Bullard will form part of the squad that travels to Turf Moor, but Brown will only play the midfielder if he is 100 per cent fit.
Player to watch: Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink
Vennegoor of Hesselink was linked with a move to Turf Moor in the summer although it is not sure how much substance there was in the interest. The 30 year old Dutch international striker though joined Hull City in September this year agreeing a two year contract after being released by Celtic at the end of his Buoys contract in July 2009.
None of the Hull strikers have been prolific this season and Vennegoor of Hesselink is no exception although he did score one of the two goals the last time Hull won a game which was at home to Wigan earlier this month; a match they won 2-1. We shall see what all the fuss was about.
Back to the Future
In the 1975-76 season, the last time the Clarets were in the top flight, Hull City were a struggling side in the old Division 2 and finished 14th that season. In the following season, with the Clarets now relegated we could only salvage a point at Turf Moor in a 0-0 draw and got thumped 4-1 at Boothferry Park.
The last time we played them of course was in their Championship promotion season during 2007-8 and both games are instantly ones that Clarets fans will want to forget. We lost a dire game at Turf Moor 1-0 in November 2007; a result that was the death knell for former gaffer, Steve Cotterill. That was to be Cotterill`s last game in charge before he left by mutual consent. It didn`t get much better against the Tigers under new manager, Owen Coyle. We lost 2-0 in the return game at the KC Stadium in March 2008.
Chester referee Mike Jones is the official in charge for this one and this will be his first game since the beach ball controversy in the Sunderland v Liverpool match.
Hull City have won just two games this season and only three in 2009. They have also yet to win away.
The media this week have been having a field day (or seven) regarding the plight of Hull City. We have already mentioned manager Phil Brown who is hanging on by the skin of his teeth but Hull`s gaffer has also lost his closest ally following changes in the Boardroom. Chairman, Paul Duffen resigned on Thursday this week. It is understood that former Hull chairman Adam Pearson, who stood down as Derby chairman on Wednesday will return to the KC Stadium to replace Duffen.
News also filtered through this week that Hull City were in desperate financial straits following assessment of a late submission of their accounts to Companies House. The Humberside club lost nearly £10m during the 12 months to July 2008 according to the Auditors, Deloitte. Deloitte also warned that even if they stay up this season, Hull would need to raise £16m on top of the £7m they get from the Premier League.
If that wasn`t bad enough, it was then announced that their number one Welsh international goalkeeper, Boaz Myhill was injured and wouldn`t be fit to play on Saturday.
So there we have it Hull third from the bottom and a club in financial trouble with managerial problems and boardroom changes plus the requirement to play a reserve goalkeeper. Oh Lord don`t you just wish this had happened next week? They are bound to be up for this game now especially with Brown fighting for his managerial life. It`s not going to happen for them, 3-1 Clarets!
We face a tough game away to 6th placed Manchester City next on Saturday 7th November @3pm Kick Off