Burnley play another home game on Saturday following their comprehensive 3-0 defeat of Barnsley at Turf Moor on Tuesday night. This time Reading are in town and the Royals will be looking to spoil Burnley`s unbeaten home record this season. The Clarets though are on a roll at the moment and will be looking to keep in contention for an automatic promotion place
Burnley go into this game against the Royals sitting pretty in 4th spot with 20 points from 12 games. They are currently on a run of seven games without defeat and have yet to lose at home this season. Still waiting though for their first win on the road, it is crucial the Clarets maintain their home form in order to keep the top two clubs within sight. Championship leaders, QPR are currently eight points clear of the Clarets and we face them next in the league at Loftus Road a week on Saturday. Second place club, Cardiff have six points more than the Clarets going into Saturday`s matches.
Reading at one point looked to be threatening to take the league by storm under manager Brian McDermott but they have tailed off recently and now lie in 11th place four points behind the Clarets. Their form on the road until recently had been pretty impressive and until they played and lost 1-0 to bottom club, Bristol City at Ashton Gate on Tuesday night they had only lost one of their five away matches. It is worth noting though that they have played three of the bottom four clubs recently losing to Middlesbrough as well as Bristol City whilst only picking up a point against Preston at Deepdale.
Burnley Team News:
Clarke Carlisle sits out the third of his three-match suspension against Reading after being harshly sent off at Millwall.
The big question at the moment is whether Danny Fox will be fit enough to play after missing the last match with a thigh injury and dead leg. Fox had been ever present this season at left back until he picked up the injury in the game against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane and failed a fitness test ahead of Tuesday night`s game against Barnsley.
Player to watch: Chris Eagles
Described as ‘unstoppable` by Brian Laws after the Tykes match, Eagles is in the form of his life at the moment. He seems to have picked up the fans texted Man of the Match award virtually every home game in recent times and has been equally impressive on the road. He is now scoring for fun and has developed into our new penalty king.
The Royals will hopefully have their hands full containing him on Saturday and if he plays like he did on Tuesday night, they will fail miserably!
Reading Team News:
Icelandic midfielder, Brynjar Gunnarsson is still sidelined with a pulled thigh muscle injury picked up in training.
Another midfielder, Jay Tabb is close to being fully fit after recovering from a foot injury. He played in the Reserves recently as did right back Julian Kelly who had been suffering from a hamstring problem.
Welsh Under 21 midfielder, Jake Taylor is suffering from a knee injury and will be out for a few weeks.
Player to watch: Jimmy Kebe
Reading do not have any leading goal scorers in the Championship Top Scorers table but 26 year old winger and striker, Jimmy Kebe can be a bit of an handful and will need watching . The Mali international joined Reading for an undisclosed fee from RC Lens in January 2008 agreeing a 30 month contract. His contract has since been extended to the summer of 2012.
Team & Tactics
We can expect Leon Cort to keep his place at centre back on Saturday after having a good, solid game against Barnsley on Tuesday night. Brian Laws also named him his Man of the Match after the former Stoke defender got in two crucial tackles.
It will be interesting to see if Carlisle will go straight back into the side after completing the third of his three-match suspension against Reading or whether Laws will give Cort an extended run after two decent performances so far standing in for the vice-captain at centre back. The player who seems to have lost out is the unfortunate Michael Duff but at least he returned to the bench on Tuesday night after suffering from a recurrence of the calf strain which he picked up in training before the Blades match. The injury to Duff gave Cort the chance to shine at Bramall Lane and he did enough to keep his place against the Tykes on Tuesday night.
Left back, Danny Fox lost his 100% record against Barnsley after failing a late fitness test. He picked up a thigh strain and dead leg injury whilst going in for the challenge in the game against Sheffield United. He also picked up a yellow card for the tackle as well as having to be substituted.
Laws gave Brian Easton his first league start on Tuesday night in the left back role and he grew in confidence throughout the game. If Fox doesn`t make it, expect Easton to feature again.
With no other suspension worries and with no news of any more injuries so far, we can expect a very similar eighteen to the one selected for the Tykes clash. My prediction would be:
Jensen, Mears, Cort, Bikey, Fox (or Easton), Cork, Eagles, Elliott, Marney, Rodriguez, Iwelumo
Subs: Grant, Duff, Easton (or Edgar), Alexander, Wallace, Paterson, Thompson
Tyne & Wear referee, Nigel Miller is in charge of this one. Miller started refereeing comparatively late in life in 1989 but soon made up for lost time by being appointed to the National list of assistant referees in 1996. He was promoted to National List referee in 2003.
He has been the man in charge in 11 games so far this season including matches in the Championship, League 1 and the Carling Cup. Just one sending off so far and 23 yellow cards.
Three points are a must if we are to keep within touching distance of the top two clubs, QPR and Cardiff and we should be able to maintain our unbeaten record at home this season. 3-1 Clarets!
There is the little matter of the Carling Cup 4th Round tie against Aston Villa at Villa Park on Wednesday night (27th October Kick-Off-7:45pm) before we return to our Championship campaign the following Saturday. We will then face a tough game against current League leaders, QPR at Loftus Road (30th October Kick-Off-3pm)