New manager, Eddie Howe and his assistant, Jason Tindall take charge of their first Clarets game on Saturday. Burnley face Scunthorpe United at Glanford Park in a Sky Sports televised game which kicks-off at 5:20pm. Clarets fans will be eager to see what style the new management team adopt and will be wondering if there will be any significant changes in team selection and tactics.
It is certainly a baptism of fire for new manager, Eddie Howe and his assistant Jason Tindall with Burnley in the middle of a very hectic January schedule having already played four games this month. His first game on Saturday away to the Iron will be followed by a visit to Fratton Park in the rearranged match against Portsmouth to be played on Tuesday night. There is then the FA Cup clash at home to Burton next Saturday followed by another away trip to Doncaster on the night of Tuesday 1st February.
The results from the league games mentioned above could effectively make or break our season and it is vitally important now we string a run together which could be difficult considering we still have to get our first elusive back-to-back win in the Championship this season. We are dropping off the pace now in terms of fighting for a play-offs place. We are currently 10th on 36 points but now six points behind sixth placed club, Watford having played the same number of games. The Clarets though do have games in hand over most of the clubs above them so all is not lost just yet.
Automatic promotion though continues to look out of reach with league leaders, QPR following their 1-1 draw at Turf Moor last week now 13 points clear of Burnley but having played one game more. Second place club, Swansea have played two games more than the Clarets and have ten points more. With the match against the Iron being televised live on Sky Sports in a late kick-off game; by the time we take the field at Glanford Park, our task could look even more difficult depending on how the results from the earlier games have panned-out.
We simply have to win basically to keep in contention and if we do it will be sweet revenge for the recent woeful, shock-horror performance against them at Turf Moor. The Iron beat the Clarets 2-0 last month and it could have been more! The game will now be remembered for one thing only, the straw that finally broke the camel`s back, In this case the ‘camel` was Brian Laws who got the sack following the match after Clarets fans gave him the hump in no uncertain terms.
So out with the old and in with the new! Can Howe do any better against the Iron? We shall have to see.
Ian Baraclough`s side are still struggling in the Championship despite their recent win over the Clarets and are second from bottom. Their home form is shocking despite having one of the better records on the road as we found out to our cost. They have won only once at home all season and have not managed a point now in their last six home games plus they also got tonked 5-1 by Everton recently in the FA Cup game at Glanford Park.
So our chances of winning this one should be high especially if we can get the first goal and put them under pressure. Their fans could give them some stick if they go behind on home soil and their confidence levels could drop. We have to hope that Howe gets off to a winning start.
Scunthorpe United Team News:
Centre-back Paul Reid signed recently from Colchester for a reported fee of £100,000 is expected to make his home debut on Saturday.
Garry Thompson has been ruled out. The 30 year old winger is still suffering from a groin problem.
Winger Mark Duffy should therefore go straight into the Scunthorpe squad after joining the club from Morecambe this week. The former Liverpool trainee, 25, has penned a two-and-a-half-year deal for an undisclosed fee.
Defender, David Mirfin could be back on Saturday though assuming the 25 year old has fully recovered from his groin injury.
The Iron do have a lot of additional injuries to worry about though. Captain, Cliff Byrne is unlikely to play after having seen the consultant about a back problem.
Rob Jones, (nerve problem) Michael O’Connor (knee) and Niall Canavan (knee) will also be sidelined.
Player to watch: Martyn Woolford
25 year old winger, Martyn Woolford is the Iron`s leading goal scorer this season so far with eight goals to his credit (6 in the Championship). One of those league goals of course was the one he scored against the Clarets at Turf Moor to give Scunthorpe a 1-0 lead. He then assisted in Scunthorpe`s second goal scored by Dagnall.
Scunthorpe, then in League One, signed Woolford from York City in August 2008. He signed a three-year contract for an undisclosed fee believed to be in six figures.
Burnley Team News:
Eddie Howe has no new injury worries but Martin Paterson is still not deemed match-fit to play. Apart from also long-term injured Chris McCann, the new manager has virtually the complete squad to choose from including striker Wes Fletcher who returned from his loan spell at Stockport in midweek.
Player to watch: Jack Cork
A crucial playmaker and a continual star performer! He should do well against his former club. Cork spent the 2007-08 season on loan at Scunthorpe United. He was voted the club’s Player of the Year that season despite their relegation.
Team & Tactics
Who knows what the new management team will plump for in terms of team selection and tactics? Is Howe a 4-3-3, 4-5-1 or 4-4-2 guy? Will he be radical in his team selection and indeed will he have seen enough on the training pitch these last few days since joining to form an opinion? He may stick with Stuart Gray`s team or change things around. I just hope whatever he does he plays a more attacking style involving 4-4-2.
On that basis, this would be my preferred 4-4-2 line up at the moment based on recent performances:
Grant, Mears, Carlisle, Duff, Easton, Eagles, Cork, Marney, Elliott, Iwelumo, Rodriguez
Subs: Jensen, Bikey, Edgar, Fox, Alexander (or McDonald), Wallace, Thompson
Hertfordshire referee, Grant Hegley takes charge of this clash. Hegley started refereeing in Hertfordshire when he was fifteen years of age, and was promoted to the National List of assistant referees in 1992, and The National List of Referees in 2001. He has refereed nineteen games this season handing out two red cards (one of them a Claret-see later) and 21 yellows. His last game involving the Clarets was back in August when he took charge of our game away to Ipswich at Portman Road. You may remember David Edgar got sent-off in that game after picking up two yellows on 41 and 78 minutes.
The first goal could be crucial but let`s hope either way Howe gets off to a great start with a win. We should be too good for them this time and surely we can`t repeat the tosh at home against the Iron last month. 2-1 Clarets, maybe more if we score first!
The hectic January schedule continues at a pace with a trip to Fratton Park on Tuesday night (25th-Kick-Off 7:45pm). The original fixture against Portsmouth was postponed last month due to the inclement weather so this is the rearranged date.