After a run of four consecutive away games including the 5-1 defeat at West Ham in the FA Cup fifth round tie, it will be good to have a game at Turf Moor. This Saturday, we face Crystal Palace at home with the Clarets hoping to maintain their current run of form in the Championship.
Burnley simply can`t throw away all the good work they have done in the three consecutive league games this month. Victory against both Watford and Preston coupled with a great point at high-flying Cardiff in February has seen the Clarets propelled into 8th place in the table with now two games in hand over 6th placed, Leeds United. We are now just four points behind the Yorkshire club and both our games in hand are at home following the postponement this month of the Coventry and Middlesbrough fixtures due to the Monday night FA Cup fifth round tie against West Ham.
We are on a roll with Eddie Howe at the helm having suffered just one league defeat since he arrived from Bournemouth in January. Now we have to press on and maintain the consistency and keep up our recent good team performances. Next up we face Crystal Palace at home this Saturday, a club struggling at the bottom end of the table just one place above the drop zone. Palace too have had a managerial change this year following the sacking of George Burley in January. His assistant Dougie Freedman took over the reins as caretaker manager and was then appointed manager on a full-time basis later that month with former Charlton boss Lennie Lawrence also named as his assistant. Palace had also been linked with Eddie Howe so at least we won that battle in the end!
Palace do not have an impressive record away from home although their form at Selhurst Park has improved of late with no defeat now in ten games. They have drawn two and lost nine of their last eleven away games though and the club are currently on 35 points, four points more than third from bottom club, Scunthorpe having played two games more. The pressure will therefore be on the Eagles. It is imperative we don`t let them get anything at Turf Moor this Saturday so we can keep up the pressure on those clubs above us.
Burnley Team News:
Steven Thompson will be unavailable for this game. He is undergoing surgery this week to fix a persistent infected groin injury and could be out for a few weeks.
Martin Paterson (recurrent thigh strain) and Chris McCann (recovery from a head operation to remove excess fluid following complaints of repeated migraines) continue to be on our casualty list.
Everybody else though seems to have come through unscathed from the local derby at Deepdale on Saturday but if we here anymore team news before the Palace match we will bring you this below the article.
Player to watch: Charlie Austin
All Burnley fans eagerly await Austin`s first goal for the Clarets but at the moment following a bout of illness he is not making the starting eleven so opportunities have been limited. His confidence though should grow if he could only slot home his first goal for his new club at this higher level.
Crystal Palace Team News:
There is no news of any fresh injuries or suspensions to worry Freedman but if there is any team news during the week we will bring it to you.
Player to watch: Neil Danns
Neil Danns is currently Palace`s joint leading goal-scorer with seven goals in all competitions this season. James Vaughan too has seven goals to his credit all scored in the league. Those two with Ambrose (6 goals) will all need to be kept in check.
Danns penned a three-and-a-half-year contract with Crystal Palace in January 2008 after signing from Birmingham City for a fee of £600,000 (rising to £850,000 should the club gain promotion to the Premier League). The 28 year old midfielder started his career with Blackburn Rovers before signing for Colchester United in the summer of 2005 following a loan spell. He moved to Brum in June 2006 for a £500,000 fee.
Team & Tactics
I think Howe will stay loyal to the team he selected for the Preston game (Thompson excepted) although many Clarets fans now believe it is time to drop the lacklustre and error-prone Lee Grant for Brian Jensen in goal. I also think Iwelumo should return to the bench after yet another fairly low-key performance against Preston. Charlie Austin needs to be given his chance in the starting eleven.
So far though Howe seems reluctant to change a winning formula so who can blame him?
I would like to see the following 4-4-2 line-up though if I am honest
Jensen, Mears, Duff, Carlisle, Fox, Eagles, Cork, Marney, Wallace, Austin, Rodriguez
Subs: Grant, Bikey, Edgar, Alexander, Elliott, Bartley, Iwelumo
We should be too strong for Palace. They have leaked three or more goals quite a few times on the road this season often with no reply. Our confidence is high and we have to keep the momentum going so 3-1 Clarets.
The Clarets face a trip to the KC Stadium on the night of Tuesday 8th March to play Hull City (7:45pm Kick-Off) before playing Millwall at home the following Saturday (3pm Kick-Off)