The Clarets are back on the road again today and it is rather a long road as they travel down to Devon to face Plymouth Argyle at Home Park.
If ever there was a six-pointer, then this is the game. Both clubs are in the mix for a play-offs position with Argyle leapfrogging the Clarets this week into 7th place after an impressive 2-0 away win at Southampton in midweek.
They are now on 49 points; 2 points ahead of the 8th placed Clarets but with an extra game played.
Burnley now have a game in hand over a number of clubs, including six of the seven clubs above us and it is critical we get something from today`s match to maintain the pressure with a difficult March coming up.
In March we face games against four of the Top 10 teams including leaders Stoke away. We play both high-flying Watford and Charlton at Turf Moor and also have a tricky game away at Hull. Wolves and Barnsley at home plus a local derby away to Preston complete a hectic schedule for the Clarets in a month that will probably decide our play-offs chances.
It will not be easy against a resurgent Plymouth today and in many ways we are facing a team similar to QPR following their good form at home and a recent away victory. Argyle have indeed won their last three games and will be looking to consolidate their current run.
Burnley though have an away record to be proud of with only Watford doing better than the Clarets on the road this season. Our record reads played 16 games, won 8, drawn 4 and lost 4.
The scene is set therefore for an intriguing game.
In terms of team selection, the Clarets look like they will be without their new loan, Andrew Cole.
Typical luck just as he started to hit the back of the net with four goals in two games including a hat-trick against QPR in our last league match. He has been sidelined with Achilles tendon problems although we have been reassured by Owen Coyle that this injury will only keep him out of today`s game.
The strike pairing is most likely therefore to be Blake and Akinbiyi with Lafferty out wide again. Owen Coyle however might be tempted to play Blake out wide with Akinbiyi on his own up front, assuming of course Blake has fully recovered from a hamstring injury.
Clarke Carlisle played his first 90 minutes since the end of December in the Friendly against Bohemians in Ireland a week last Friday. He had been sidelined with a hamstring injury but now seems to have fully recovered and is only lacking match practice. It sounds like Owen Coyle was hoping to give him a run out in a reserve game against Accrington Stanley this week until the game was postponed due to a frozen pitch at the Fraser Eagle Stadium.
David Unsworth is also available after recovering from some sort of bug. Owen Coyle though I think will keep with the back four of Alexander, Caldwell, Varga and Harley with Unsworth on the bench.
He might be tempted to name Carlisle in the sixteen but he looks doubtful to start.
The Clarets team therefore could be as follows:
Jensen, Alexander, Caldwell, Varga, Harley, Elliott, James O`Connor, McCann, Lafferty, Blake, Akinbiyi
Subs: Kiraly, Unsworth, Gudjonsson, Randall, Spicer, Jordan or Carlisle
Paul Sturrock is expected to keep the same Plymouth team that beat Southampton 2-0 at the St Mary’s Stadium on Tuesday.
A home debut for new loan signing Russell Anderson is therefore on the cards. The centre-back moved from Sunderland on a one-month loan deal on Tuesday, just hours before kick-off.
Their other new loan, winger Gary Teale, will most likely be on the bench but is expected to play some part in the game according to Vital Plymouth`s editor.
Plymouth`s team therefore will be from:
McCormick, Connolly, Timar, Anderson, Sawyer, Halmosi, Nalis, Abdou, Paterson, Teale, Easter, Mackie, MacLean, Larrieu, Fallon, Wotton, Seip, Hodges.
Come on you Clarets, its time we had our first six-pointer of the season in this true ‘six pointer’ of a game
‘It’s a difficult game against a team that we beat here not too long back. They brought a few players in last week to freshen the team up and they had a great win at Southampton, so we know that with the opposition and with the long journey it will be a tough game, but if we are at our best we can go there and win that game.’
Plymouth Argyle Team News:
Dutch Defender Marcel Seip is back in training but is still suffering from the effects of a groin injury although could be named as a sub.French defender Mat Doumbe is sidelined with an hamstring injury
Player to watch: Peter Halmosi
I will provide you with the words here from the Vital Plymouth Editor:
‘Peter Halmosi be Argyle’s dangerman, the Pilgrims have won every game this season in which Halmosi has scored.
Including last season, Argyle have won nine games from ten in which the Hungarian has found the net, so if Halmosi scores against Burnley it’s a safe bet that Argyle will win the game.’
We better keep the blighter at bay then!
Burnley Team News:
Andrew Cole looks certain to miss out with a recurrent Achilles tendon injury. Clarke Carlisle and David Unsworth are now available but will probably only make the bench.
Player to watch: Ade Akinbiyi
Another day for Ade to shine and add to his mounting goal tally. The inspiration behind our last victory at QPR after coming on from the bench for the whole of the second half.
Last Time We Met
A dull 0-0 draw was played out at Home Park last season back in October 2006. Since that time we have had two home wins against the team in green. A thumping 4-0 victory in April 2007 saw the start of our recovery after a nineteen winless run. Our most recent match at Turf Moor was only last month, with Blake scoring the only goal that day to secure three points for the Clarets.
Tomlaw provides the review below:
This weekend`s referee is Jarnail Singh from Middlesex.
So far this season he has refereed 7 championship games, including Norwich vs. Preston and Ipswich vs. Scunthorpe.
He has booked 71 players and has shown 2 players red cards. He last refereed the Clarets last season when we beat Luton 2-0 away.
There are no bad reviews of him and, from what I`ve seen of him he is a good referee.
This has a score draw written all over it. I will go for 1-1 hoping we might nick it!
26th February: Coventry at Turf Moor on Tuesday night with a 7:45pm KO