The Clarets return to Championship football on a high this Saturday after defeating Premier League Owen Coyle`s Bolton Wanderers 1-0 at Turf Moor in the midweek Carling Cup clash. Beating both Preston and now Bolton recently will have boosted Brian Laws standing amongst fans no end and he can cement that even further by beating lowly Bristol City at home on Saturday.
Burnley sit comfortably placed in 8th spot after seven Championship league games this season. They have 11 points just three points behind second placed club, Ipswich. A win on Saturday in the first of two home games followed by victory against Hull City in a match coming up at Turf Moor on Tuesday night could really kick-start our promotion campaign and put us well in contention for a return to the top flight at the first attempt. At the moment only League leaders, QPR seem to be running away with it and they sit top of the pile with 19 points, eight ahead of the Clarets.
Bristol City on the other hand have had a very poor start to the season. The Robins of course were shocked by the sudden departure of manager, Steve Coppell but his replacement, Keith Millen has been unable to reverse City`s misfortune. The Robins are fourth from bottom with just five points from seven games but we can`t be too complacent against lowly teams if we are to achieve nirvana again and their away form is more impressive than their home form at the moment. They beat Scunthorpe 2-0 the last time they were on the road so underestimate them at your peril!
Burnley Team News:
Apart from Chris McCann who is a long-term casualty recovering from the surgery he underwent to fix his cruciate ligament, Brian Laws has no injury or suspension worries and has the full squad available for selection. Ross Wallace had already recovered from his hamstring injury despite missing out on the Carling Cup game against Bolton in midweek.
Player to watch: Chris Eagles
Since returning to the starting eleven this season, Chris is probably having his best spell at Burnley and looks to be thoroughly enjoying his football at the club after signing a new contract in the summer. Consistency (or lack of it) was often the criticism levelled at Eagles so now he has to prove his critics wrong but so far things are encouraging with three very impressive performances on the bounce including at least two man of the match awards depending on your point of view.
Bristol City Team News:
There is currently no news of any Bristol City injuries or suspensions but we will bring you these below the article should we hear anything.
Player to watch: David James
Clarets fans will be hoping it is more of a case of ‘Calamity James` turning up this Saturday and of course it`s always a thrill (Not!) to see which latest hair-do he is currently sporting! David James became the surprise signing of the pre-season with most punters expecting the England International keeper to find a new Premier League home before finally deciding to leave financially-stricken Pompey as a free agent. James instead signed a one year contract with Bristol City in July 2010 with the option of a second year. It is understood he made the decision because he will be closer to his family in Devon and is hoping his more regular performances for the Robins will keep him on the England manager`s radar.
Team & Tactics
Ross Wallace was rested for the Carling Cup clash in midweek but we can expect him to return against Bristol City and I suspect Brian Laws will select a similar eighteen to the one chosen for the Palace clash. The big question mark is whether Graham Alexander will return to Championship duty in the holding midfield role after being on the bench against Palace. He was back in favour against Bolton on Tuesday night in the absence of Wallace but if Wallace returns, Jack Cork could take over the holding midfield role again. We definitely looked sharper at Palace and I would hope that Cork gets the role. Sorry Grezza! I might regret that though if we get a penalty!
Laws made a few other changes for the Bolton clash but probably both Lee Grant and Jay Rodriguez who made rare starts this week are likely to be back on the bench this Saturday.
I have given up suggesting or wishing for a 4-4-2 tactical approach even though I still think an Iwelumo/Paterson partnership up front would give us more options with a greater chance of scoring.
So for me it will be:
Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Bikey, Fox, Cork, Eagles, Elliott, Marney, Wallace, Iwelumo
Subs: Grant, Cort, Duff, Alexander, Rodriguez, Paterson, Thompson
If we play like we have in the last couple of games (and knowing Burnley that is a big ‘if`!) we should be far too strong for Bristol City and we could even better the 4-0 victory we had over them the last time these two sides clashed at Turf Moor. That was a special day though with the Clarets needing three points to secure a play-offs place on the last day of the 2008-9 season. Although I suspect a tonking could be on the cards, I won`t get above my station and will predict a more modest 3-0 victory for the Clarets.
Matches are coming think and fast at the moment with games it seems every Saturday and Tuesday. The sequence continues on Tuesday night ( 28th September -Kick-Off 7:45pm) with Hull City the visitors to Turf Moor and this will be soon followed by a game against Millwall at the Den Stadium on Saturday 2nd October (Kick-Off 3pm)