The Clarets play their game in hand tonight at home against Norwich. This match was originally postponed back in January thanks to a waterlogged pitch.
Burnley will be hoping for three points tonight and virtually ensure safety from relegation. They can then march on aiming for a respectable,if disappointing midtable finish.
A win tonight will see the Clarets on 54 points requiring both Leeds (3rd from bottom) and Hull (4th from bottom) to win their last three remaining games with a potful of goals to overcome out vastly superior goal difference. The bottom two clubs, Southend and Luton would be unable to catch our points tally.
Burnley are currently 17th on 51 points with Norwich on 15th with 56 points.
54 points would also see the club equal last season’s tally and with 3 matches remaining after tonight could mean a finish on 54-63 points. Our best season to date under Steve Cotterill was in the 2004-5 campaign, his first season for the club when we finished 13th on 60 points. It would be nice to equal or beat that tally after such a disappointing season following that winless 19 match run between December and March.
Norwich will be buoyed by a 2-1 win away to Leicester in their last match. This was a match that curiously saw Norwich’s former manager, Nigel Worthington return as a temporary manager of Leicester for his first match since leaving Carrow Road.
The Clarets could also be claimed as the architect for the final nail in Worthy’s coffin back in October when we thumped the Canaries 4-1 in front of their home crowd and Sky TV. That was to be his final match in charge.
Burnley on the other hand will be smarting after their 1-0 away defeat against Leeds at Elland Rd last Saturday and will be hoping this is a blip following their three match consecutive wins against Plymouth, Birmingham and Cardiff over the Easter Holiday period.
The big question from the Clarets fans will be who will replace Paul McVeigh, who under the terms of his loan deal is unable to play against his club.
Steve Cotterill has recently been shouting the cause of Ade Akinbiyi, saying ‘he needs to be loved’. Ade,of course has not had a happy return to Turf Moor so far and is clearly nowhere near to firing on all cylinders and returning to the form that we all recall the fist time round!
It will be interesting to see if the gaffer still shows some faith in Ade and allows him to play up front with Andy Gray or whether we shall see the return of Kyle Lafferty. The Northern Ireland International has not even featured on the bench in recent times.
Another option, might be to play Spicer behind Andy Gray in 4-4-1-1, and given a choice that would be my preference.
The starting eleven and bench could look something like this:
Jensen, Harley, Thomas, Caldwell, Duff, Jones, Djemba-Djemba, J O’Connor, Elliott, Akinbiyi, Gray.
Subs: Coyne, Spicer, Coughlan, Lafferty, McCann
Burnley Team News:
There have been no announcements of any further injury worries following the Leeds match and apart from Mahon and Foster still recovering from long-term injuries, Steve Cotterill will be able to choose from the rest of the squad with the exception of Paul McVeigh.
Player to watch: Andy Gray
Surely he has to score one before the end of the season. He will have been disappointed not to get his first goal since returning from injury against Leeds last Saturday.
Norwich Team News:
Norwich seem to have a whole pile of injuries and there is some talk they might have to delve into the youth team to provide cover.
Jason Shackell, skipper Adam Drury (Ankle) and Jurgen Colin (Groin) are all ruled out.
Defender Gary Doherty is also still struggling with a stomach problem.
Former, Clarets loan, Luke Chadwick has also had a catolgue of injuries since signing for the Canaries,his latest being a torn thigh muscle.
Player to watch: Darren Huckerby
Always a danger and it was a toss up between him and Robert Earnshaw. ‘Earnie’ has only just returned from a long-term injury though and might still be needing more match practice.
Last Time We Met!
This was the infamous tonking at Carrow Road which saw the Clarets thump the Canaries 4-1 back in October with goals from James O’Connor, Gray (2) and Alan Mahon. The match was also televised by Sky and was the final straw for Delia and the Norwich board with Nigel Worthington sacked soon after.
Lets hope for a return to our Easter form. 2-0 Clarets
West Brom on Monday April 23rd @ 7:45 pm (Sky Televised)