The Clarets play Coventry tonight at Turf Moor in the fourth and final consecutive game against Midlands` opposition. This has been a good spell so far against the men from the Midlands. We have defeated West Brom 3-1 in the FA Cup 4th Round replay, got a valuable point away to Birmingham in a 1-1 draw and last Saturday beat League Leaders, Wolves 1-0 at Turf Moor. Burnley will now be looking for a win against Coventry to extend their run to five games without defeat and move into the play-offs positions.
Setting the Scene
Burnley are currently 8th in the League on the psychologically important 50 points. There is always a sigh of relief when that magical 50 is reached. It generally means we will be safe from relegation not that this season that is considered to be likely anyway with the play-offs still firmly in our sights.
There are now a host of clubs in contention for the play-offs. Wolves, Birmingham and Reading look assured of the two automatic promotion places and one of the play-offs spots leaving currently another seven clubs including the Clarets fighting over the last three play-offs places from 4th placed Preston on 53 points (played one more game than the Clarets) down to 10th placed QPR on 47 points (played one less game than the Clarets). It really is tight up there and there is no room for any slip ups especially at home.
The Clarets on paper then should defeat Coventry in 14th place on 40 points especially if they play like they did against Wolves. We will be too strong for the Sky Blues if we play at our best but this is football, and this is the Championship so we know to our cost that any club in this league is capable of beating any other.
Coventry are no mugs either, they too defeated League leaders, Wolves on home soil recently and also earned a creditable 2-2 draw in their last match against Premier League local rivals Blackburn at Ewood Park in the FA Cup 5th Round.
Nevertheless the Clarets will be looking for their second consecutive double over the Sky Blues and it is imperative we get the three points and stay in strong contention for one of the, what looks like three remaining play-offs spots.
It looks like we will be without left-back, Christian Kalvenes for this game after he picked up a groin strain in the Wolves match last Saturday. However, Stephen Jordan looks set to replace him after recovering from a knee injury that has kept him sidelined for the last seven matches.
With no news of any other injuries and with no suspensions, Owen Coyle might be tempted to name the same sixteen and starting eleven that have been selected for the last two games, which would mean once more that Chris Eagles could be on the bench. Coyle seems loyal to the players selected for the team if the results are going our way, which they have been so I will predict the following line up:
Jensen, Williams, Duff, Caldwell, Jordan, Alexander, Elliott, McCann, Blake, Paterson, Thompson
Subs: Penny, Gudjonsson, McDonald, Eagles, Rodriguez
Burnley Team News:
Kalvenes is a major doubt with a groin strain and Owen Coyle will be hoping Stephen Jordan is fully fit enough to return to the left back spot after recovering from a knee injury.
Player to watch: Robbie Blake
Robbie Blake is in awesome form at the moment and if he continues this form tomorrow, he will be a major threat to Coventry`s defence.
Coventry City Team News:
Defender, James McPake has a groin injury and could miss this clash but Stephen Wright is available to play in the back four following a one-match suspension.
Midfielder David Bell returns to the side after being cup-tied against Blackburn Rovers.
Icelandic international midfielder, Aron Gunnarson also looks set to keep his place in the starting eleven.
Player to watch: Michael Doyle
The Republic of Ireland international midfielder and former Celtic player has captained Coventry a number of times and he can be key to building a Sky Blues attack. He also scored a rare goal in their match recently against Wolves.
Last Time We Met
The Clarets will be hoping to complete the double over Coventry this season after beating them 3-1 at the Ricoh back in October 2008. Duff, Blake and Eagles were our goal scorers that day with the latter two coming off the bench to score in yet another example of Coyle`s mastership of the substitution.
If we do win tonight it will be the second season running we have done the double over them. A 2-1 victory at the Ricoh in January 2008 with goals from Blake and Akinbiyi was followed a month later by a 2-0 win at Turf Moor with Caldwell and McCann on the score sheet.
David Foster (Tyne & Wear)
2-0 at least!
An away trip to my part of the world in East Anglia with Norwich the opponents at Carrow Road on Saturday 21st February (3pm KO).Yes,I am going!