The Clarets are on the road again this Saturday and face a tough challenge against high-profile, high-spending Manchester City at Eastlands. Burnley are 10th in the table just three points behind Liverpool (should I repeat that?) Manchester City on the other hand are going out for broke this season to break the monopoly of the Big Four and so far they have been successful. They are indeed 4th with four points more than the Clarets with a game in hand. Of late though by their standards they have struggled with four consecutive draws in the league albeit punctured with an emphatic 5-1 tonking of Scunthorpe in the Carling Cup. They will be anxious for a win on Saturday against a side that has yet to get a point away from home. The Clarets will have to play on that anxiety and try and hold out as long as they can to frustrate them. The longer we can stop them scoring, the more their anxiety could affect them and the greater the chance we could nick something but whichever way you look at it, it`s going to be a big ask. Come on you Clarets!
Predicted Team Sheet
With no news of any further injuries and with no suspensions, it looks like the eighteen picks itself this Saturday with the same selection for the third game running. Owen Coyle is loyal to his squad if they are playing well and winning so we can expect the same line up as the one that beat Hull City 2-0 at Turf Moor last Saturday.
Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Alexander, Eagles, Bikey, Elliott, Blake, Fletcher
Subs: Penny, Duff, Gudjonsson, McDonald, Guererro, Nugent, Thompson
Two of our players are returning to face their former club. Tyrone Mears started his professional career with City in 2001 but only made one appearance before signing for Preston in July 2002 for £200,000. Stephen Jordan, a City fan played for the club for seven years between 2000-2007 and made 51 appearances for the club before joining the Clarets in July 2007 after his contract at Eastlands expired.
Manchester City Team News:
City striker Emmanuel Adebayor and defender Kolo Toure look likely to return for tomorrow`s match (Oh thank you very much (Not!) Adebayor (ankle) and Toure (heel) missed City` goalless draw at Birmingham last Sunday due to injury but both have trained without any problems over the past few days.
Left-back Wayne Bridge (knee) and striker Roque Santa Cruz (ankle) though are doubtful. City manager Mark Hughes believes they have a 50:50 chance of being available. (Oh that old chestnut again, they will play!)
Player to watch: All of them obviously!
Manchester City have such depth in squad (and let`s face it they can afford it with all their millions sloshing about) so how do you select just one player to watch? It`s an impossible task with the likes of Adebayor, Tevez, Toure, Lescott, Wright-Phillips, Barry and Bellamy at their disposal to name but just a few.
Burnley Team News:
Our only injuries are the long-term ones we all know about. Martin Paterson (torn cartilage), Chris McCann (medial ligament) and Jay Rodriguez (fractured foot) are all making progress but we are unlikely to see any of those in contention until Christmas or the early New Year.
Player to watch: Stephen Jordan
He will have something to prove against his former club and has been playing well for the Clarets recently in the back four. He will need to be on his guard at left-back though in this match and could be a key player in trying to frustrate City and deny them an opening goal.
Back to the Future
In our relegation season of 1975-76, the last time we were in the top flight before this season, we did pretty well against Manchester City. City rather like now contained a number of high-profile players in their side and could boast Joe Corrigan in goal with strikers, Colin Bell, Joe Royle and Rodney Marsh (captain) up front plus Asa Hartford and Peter Barnes on the flank. They also had defender Willie Donachie in the squad, a player of course who would eventually play for the Clarets in the eighties. Another player who would also play for the Clarets was right winger, Denis Tueart who had been signed from Sunderland in 1974.
Manchester City back then of course played at Maine Road and Tony Book, a former player and captain was their manager. On the Saturday 11th October 1975, Jimmy Adamson took his Clarets side to Maine Road with the team struggling in 17th spot and City placed 9th in the table. One player who was returning to Maine Road was City`s former idol and England international, Mike Summerbee. He had been signed by the Clarets in the close season and was facing his former club for the first time.
The game in front of a crowd of 35,003 finished up 0-0 and that was a very pleasing and creditable result considering the circumstances. The return game at Turf Moor took place on the Saturday 13th March 1976 and by then under new manager, Joe Brown we were in dire straits in 21st spot with relegation looking a certainty. 24239 fans up to see this clash and once more the game finished goalless.
The last time of course we played Manchester City in the league was in their promotion season from the Championship during 2001-2 and both games were not ones Clarets fans would like to remember. A 4-2 defeat for Stan Ternent`s team at Turf Moor in August 2001 was followed by a 5-1 tonking at their place over the Christmas period, a game which effectively led to the Clarets sliding down the table despite being in top spot before travelling to Maine Road. The Clarets would finish in an agonising 7th place losing out to Norwich in 6th and hence missing out on a play-offs place on goal difference, in fact by just one goal! We only needed one goal and yet had gifted City nine of them!
There is a debutant referee as far as the Clarets are concerned this Saturday. Stuart Attwell has never been involved with a Burnley game before but will get his first chance at Eastlands. The Nuneaton referee is probably best remembered for allowing a phantom goal to stand in the Watford v Reading clash last season. He is a Premier League referee but has only refereed a handful of top flight games to date.
My heart is ruling my head again. The odds are stacked against us, nobody expects us to win. If we don`t win, I just pray it`s only by the odd goal or so rather than the thumping`s of late against the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs. Oh stuff it 1-1!
Well it`s another of them blessed international breaks after the City game and we won`t be back in action until the 21st November when we play 7th placed Aston Villa at Turf Moor (3pm KO). Boy, life in the Premier League doesn`t get any easier does it?