Date: 27th December 2008 at 5:45pm
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The Clarets will quickly want to forget that awful 2-1 Boxing Day defeat against Barnsley at Turf Moor on Friday. Just two days ago since that frustrating outcome, they have a chance to rescue some Christmas cheer for Clarets fans by beating struggling Doncaster Rovers on their home soil in yet another Roses clash this Sunday.

Although the Boxing Day defeat did not affect our 4th place position in the League, the Top 3 sides and the chasing pack did make some headway and it is imperative that we get something from the game to maintain our automatic promotion push if not our play-offs hopes.

You would think that a game against Doncaster Rovers who are currently second from bottom in the League would be just the sort of match where three points should come readily for the Clarets even on away soil.

Certainly if we play like we know we can, we should be able to convincingly beat one of this season`s newly promoted sides. The trouble is we said that for our recent home encounter back in November when reduced to ten men for most of the game we struggled hard to hold onto a point in a 0-0 draw.

Doncaster Rovers will also be buoyed by their 4-2 victory away to fellow strugglers, Nottingham Forest in their Boxing Day clash at the City Ground and we will need to be on our guard with their tails up.

They have a knack of playing well whilst frustrating sides without being prolific goal scorers and most of their games have been tight usually with just one goal in it.

Clarets fans will be hoping though that the four goals against Forest was a fluke.

Come on you Clarets, break them down this time and let`s come away with three points ending the year with a bang.

Let`s hope the words of Owen Coyle are heeded this time. The Clarets gaffer said after the shock Barnsley win:

“It’s behind us now and we have to make sure we use that disappointment to motivate us and to get that winning feeling back.’

Predicted Team Sheet

Owen Coyle appears to have a full squad to choose from with the exception of Kalvenes who still appears to be sidelined with a persistent leg injury.

There are no further injuries or suspensions following the Boxing Day clash and I suspect Coyle will keep faith with the same sixteen that were named for the Barnsley game.

We can expect therefore to start 4-1-4-1 and line-up as follows:

Jensen, Duff, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Alexander, Elliott, McCann, Eagles, Blake, Paterson

Subs: Penny, Mahon, Gudjonsson, McDonald, Thompson

Coyle has a habit of naming the same sixteen where possible when there are no injuries or suspensions although one option he might consider could be to bring in Thompson to partner Paterson up front and revert back to 4-4-2 with Duff probably named on the bench. He might also be tempted to start Kevin McDonald but then who would he drop with all the midfield playing reasonably well?

Doncaster Rovers Team News:

Doncaster are likely to name an unchanged side after ending a run of three straight losses by beating Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day.

Doncaster boss Sean O’Driscoll does not have any fresh injury or suspension concerns after their clash at the City ground.

Midfielder James Coppinger is hoping to be named in the starting eleven after recovering from an ankle injury and Adam Lockwood could also be promoted from the bench following a facial injury.

Former Clarets midfielder, John Spicer also seems to have made a breakthrough into the starting eleven in recent games and looks likely to face his former club.

Player to watch: Paul Heffernan

Striker Paul Heffernan scored two goals against Forest and he has now scored three in the last three matches.

Burnley Team News:

Kalvenes still looks sidelined with a persistent leg injury but Owen Coyle appears to have no other selection problems.

Player to watch: Chris Eagles

Eagles has not scored in recent matches despite coming close on many occasions. His energy though has been boundless and he is just the sort of player who could wreak havoc in the Doncaster Rovers defence and Clarets fans will be hoping he can get back on the score sheet in this Roses clash.

Last Time We Met

Back in November we struggled with 10 men for most of the match following a debatable second yellow card for Steven Thompson. Doncaster`s plan to frustrate the Clarets worked that day and we had to be content with a 0-0 draw.

Ref Watch:

The whistling kettle from Rutland will no doubt be brewing up trouble in this game. Yep it’s Trevor Kettle in charge!

Match Prediction:

Providing we play like we have for most of the last quarter of 2008, we will be too strong for Donny and a 2-0 victory should be achievable.

Doncaster will have to hope we play like we did against Barnsley for them to stand any hope of the Clarets giving them a relegation lifeline.

Next Match

The Cup games are upon us. We start our FA Cup campaign against QPR at Loftus Road in the third round on Saturday 3rd January (3pm KO) before staying in London for the big Carling Cup Semi Final first leg clash against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane just three days later on Tuesday night (6th January)