The Clarets play their second away match in succession this Saturday and travel to London to play Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park still looking for their first away win of the season in the Championship.
We will be hoping to get back to winning ways against Palace after the disappointment of losing to Middlesbrough at the Riverside on Tuesday night. The manner of that defeat after taking the lead and then conceding two goals, one in the last minute of added time was a big blow to Clarets fans hoping to see the team get a rare away win. Burnley have managed just one win and one draw in the last six games on the road having scored six goals but conceded a worrying nine. Despite the average performance away from home, the Clarets are still nicely placed in a play-offs spot in 6th position with 10 points from 6 games. A win on Saturday would lift everybody`s spirits and keep us in contention with QPR already pulling away in top spot, six points ahead of the Clarets.
Crystal Palace have been rebuilding after being deducted ten points for going into Administration last season and avoiding relegation into League 1 by a whisker. Now managed by former Scotland manager, George Burley they have been mainly active in the loan market this season but they have brought in veteran 37 year old Dutch international midfielder, Edgar Davids on a pay-as-you-play basis. They will have their tails up on Saturday having just whipped strugglers, Portsmouth 4-1 at home in midweek and we will need to be on our guard. The Eagles home form though is less than impressive in general with 3 wins and 2 defeats in their last six home games. They have scored 12 goals in those matches but worryingly for them they have also conceded nine something that will give hope to the Clarets. They are currently struggling in 19th spot with just six points from six games.
Crystal Palace Team News:
17 years old striker, Wilf Zaha is back in contention after completing a three-match ban. Midfielder, Darren Ambrose and defender, David Wright though remain sidelined with injury. Their on loan striker from Spurs, 19 year old Jonathan Obika also looks doubtful.
Player to watch: James Vaughan
The Clarets were linked with 22 year old striker James Vaughan only recently with a loan deal from Everton being suggested although the club denied any interest. In the end he joined Palace on a three month loan deal earlier this month and then proceeded to score a hat-trick on his home debut in Tuesday night`s match against Pompey! Burnley will have to keep him quiet on Saturday which they failed to do against Everton when we played them at Goodison Park in the Premier League last season.
Burnley Team News:
Chris Eagles has shaken off a dead-leg injury that led to him being substituted in the second half at the Riverside in midweek. There was also a question mark over Chris Iwelumo but thankfully he would appear to have now fully recovered from his hamstring. There is no news of any further injuries so only Chris McCann will be unavailable for selection.
Player to watch: Jack Cork
Jack may have had an indifferent match against Boro on Tuesday night but there is no doubt that the on-loan midfielder from Chelsea is capable of great influence given half the chance. One has to hope Brian Laws keeps Cork in the starting eleven against Palace after previously preferring to keep him on the bench until the Boro game.
Team & Tactics
It is now official that there are no further injury concerns. I would hope and expect therefore that Brian Laws will name the same eighteen he selected for the midweek Middlesbrough match.
That would mean that both Jack Cork and Chris Eagles would retain their places. Eagles was our star player on Tuesday night and we need his energy and skill on the ball. He gives the team along with Cork a much better shape.
There is some debate whether we should retain a loan striker but the problem with having a strike partner up front in 4-4-2 and the question it raises is basically who do you drop in midfield? The holding midfield role could become redundant and in any case would it be right to drop your captain? On the other hand if you retain Alexander which three attacking midfielders would you select? Eagles and Wallace would be expected to be on the flanks although Elliott could take on a wider role but he seems to be preferred in the middle at the moment. I don`t think you could drop Elliott and Cork should really be starting every game he is such quality. No. I think we will soldier on with 4-5-1 or 4-3-3. Chris Iwelumo having finally shaken off his hamstring injury looks favourite to keep the loan striker`s role.
I suspect the line up will be as follows therefore:
Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Bikey, Fox, Alexander, Eagles, Elliott, Cork, Wallace, Iwelumo
Subs: Grant, Cort (or Duff), Edgar, Marney, Paterson, Rodriguez, Thompson
Isle of Wight referee, James Linington will be in charge of this one. This season his card count from six games reads an amazing 19 yellows and 2 reds! Eckersley for right back anybody?
Surely we have to win away sometime and this could be the one where we succeed. I will go for a narrow Clarets victory 2-1.
There is the little matter of the third round Carling Cup clash against Owen Coyle`s Bolton at Turf Moor on Tuesday night ( 21st September @7:45pm Kick-Off). It will be an absolute joy to win that one and stuff Judas. If we do it will set us up nicely for our Championship game at home to Bristol City on Saturday 25th September (Kick-Off 3pm)