The Clarets are flying high in 5th place on 23 points after their hard-fought 1-0 victory against Reading on Tuesday night. You would think a match at home against 18th placed Norwich City would be an ideal opportunity to secure a relatively easy 3 points after recent tough and hard home games against the Premier League sides of last season, Birmingham and The Royals.
The Canaries are the visitors to Turf Moor tomorrow and they have just 16 points from 14 games this season. In addition their form away from home this season is not that good having won only once on the road so far
However Glen Roeder`s men might find their task easier on Saturday with news that a number of Clarets players are facing an uphill battle to recover fully from injury or illness.
Owen Coyle explains:
“We do not want to be drama queens or anything but out of the back lads that played the other night, then Graham Alexander will be the only one who`ll train. And I include Clarke Carlisle and Michael Duff in that as well,”
“Christian Kalvenes will have little or no chance of being involved (tomorrow), and Steven Caldwell took another bang.
“He wasn`t quite 100 per cent the other night but he played, such was his desire and being a real captain that he wanted to be out there, and all credit to him.
“Michael Duff was vomiting all night on Monday – he came in on Tuesday but I think a ladybird could have pushed him over he was so weak. So we felt obviously that he couldn`t play the game.
“A couple of boys have had it from there so we sent a couple home (yesterday) and we`ll see what happens tomorrow.
“Robbie`s one, but I don`t really want to be revealing who`s going to be struggling for the game – but suffice to say there`s a couple sent home because here`s no point in them being in amongst the lads and all of a sudden it spreads like wildfire, so we`ll try to quarantine them off and see what happens.”
“That doesn`t fill me with enthusiasm for Robbie given that Michael was ill on Tuesday. I`m hoping it`s not to the same extent, but we`ll see how he is.
“We`ll monitor them, but whoever`s asked to play will give everything they`ve got, so I`m quite relaxed about that.”
Predicted Team Sheet
Well it all sounds a bit of a lottery as to who might make it and who might not.
Chris McCann played part of the Reading match at centre back and he might be called upon to play there again depending on who else is fit enough to play in the back four.
Graham Alexander may well have to play at right back again instead of his successful holding midfielder role he had before the Reading match.
4-4-2 therefore could be the chosen formation for the second match running after being forced to abandon the 4-1-4-1 line-up
A possible sixteen for the match tomorrow could be as follows but to be honest there are just too many permutations depending on who can recover in time.
Jensen, Alexander, Caldwell (or Carlisle), McCann, Jordan, Elliott, Gudjonsson, Eagles, Paterson, Thompson
Subs: Penny, Van der Schaaf, Blake (if recovered), Rodriguez, McDonald
If Blake doesn`t make it, then perhaps Alan Mahon could reclaim his place on the bench?
Yet another test therefore for the Clarets when perhaps this fixture looked one of the easier ones on paper before the potential crisis in the back four.
Burnley Team News:
A mini-crisis for the Clarets with injury and illness taking it’s toll. Only one defender, Alexander was fit enough to take part in the training sessions this week.
Michael Duff missed Tuesday night`s game against Reading after picking up a bug and still looks doubtful.
Christian Kalvenes injured his thigh and ankle in midweek whilst Clarke Carlisle failed a late fitness test against the Royals.
Steven Caldwell is still trying to fully recover from a hip injury and did well to play in midweek after picking up another knock.
We will have to hope some of the back four recover in time although Kalvenes is a major doubt at the moment so Jordan is likely to fill that position.
Not only have we back four problems but goal hero of Tuesday night, Robbie Blake has also gone dowm with the lurgy and was sent home before the training session.
Player to watch: Chris Eagles
In the starting eleven against Reading in midweek and looks set to retain his place after a good performance. His class can mean all the difference and Clarets fans will be hoping he can maintain his form.
Norwich City Team News:
Jon Otsemobor and captain Mark Fotheringham are available after recovering from injury
Antoine Sibierski picked up a knock during the Canaries 3-1 defeat by Derby County and looks to be the only doubt
Player to watch: Leroy Lita
The Reading striker on loan to the Canaries plays his last game for the club unless his loan contract is extended. He has scored 4 goals in 5 games for Norwich. He will not however have fond memories of Turf Moor suffering a broken ankle when he played for Reading against the Clarets in their promotion season back in March 2006 .
Last Time We Met
This fixture last season back in October 2007 produced a 2-1 Clarets victory with Blake and Gray on the scoresheet but the Canaries got their revenge in the return match at Carrow Road in April this year defeating the Clarets 2-0.
The Clarets should be good enough to defeat Norwich even with a potentially depleted defence so a 2-0 victory is predicted.
A tough one away to League leaders, Wolves at Molineux on Saturday 8th November 2008 with a 3pm KO.