Burnley face their second Sky televised match in five days as they travel to the Stadium of Light hoping that their form can continue against the second-placed Sunderland team.
The Clarets although nothing to play for now this season will be hoping to make it six wins in seven matches. A win would leave the lads on 60 points equalling our best post-Digital season in 2004/5 with our final match to play a week Sunday at home to Coventry.
This is really going to be a tall order though with high flying Sunderland, currently in second place on 82 points, fighting for an automatic promotion place.
Roy Keane was at Turf Moor last Tuesday night when we came from 2-0 down to beat 10-men play-offs chasing West Brom 3-2. Lets hope that fighting spirit gave him something to think about.
Sunderland wobbled in their last match against Colchester, going down 3-1 at Layer Road.The Clarets will hoping that defeat, their first in 18 matches, will have a negative psychological effect. Two former Mackem players in particular will be hoping to impress against their former club. Captain, Steve Caldwell will be hoping to show Keane that he could regret letting him go. Andy Gray had a torrid time at Sunderland, losing his scoring touch. He is now bang on form for the Clarets and bagged a brace of goals in our last match against the Baggies.
Lets just hope our recent luck brought by the cameras in the last two seasons continues tonight.
James O’Connor, who was stretchered off unconscious after a clash of heads with Baggies,defender, McShane during the win over West Brom has recovered after a precautionary stay overnight in hospital. He will however be rested for this match and will not feature.
Chris McCann is thought to be the midfielder who will replace him.
It is believed that both Alan Mahon and Steve Foster have both recovered for their injuries and have returned to training but are unlikely to feature in the gaffer’s plans for the match tonight. Alan Mahon may be a surprise on the bench.
Steve Cotterill is likely to field a team similar to the one that finished the match againt WBA. Ade Akinbiyi had yet another disappointing match against the Baggies and the gaffer may prefer to start with a 4-4-1-1 formation and play Paul McVeigh just behind Andy Gray with Ade on the bench.
I suspect the team and bench will be something like this:
Jensen, Harley, Thomas, Caldwell, Duff, Jones, Djemba-Djemba, McCann, Elliott, McVeigh, Gray
Subs: Coyne, Coughlan, Garreth O’ Connor or Alan Mahon, Akinbiyi, Spicer
Sunderland Team News:
Graham Kavanagh is out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury.
Danny Simpson, the on loan defender is trying to shake off a hamstring injury and is the only doubt for Roy Keane. Goalkeeper,Darren Ward suffered back spasms in their last match against Colchester but will probably have recovered by now.
Daryl Murphy, Tobias Hysen and Ross Wallace are all in contention for the left wing spot and they have an option of two from five players for a strike pairing up front.
Player to watch: David Connelly
Caldwell and his back four will be hoping to snuff out this hotshot who has scored 11 goals in 31 appearances for Sunderland.
Burnley Team News:
James O’Connor will sit out this match following his horrendous head injury and precautionary overnight hospital stay.
In theory, the gaffer has a full squad to choose from, apart from James O’Connor but it is unlikely Alan Mahon and Steve Foster will fetaure.
Player to watch: Andy Gray
Andy, on form at the moment and finding the net now, will be hoping to inflict further damage tonight against his former club.
Last Time We Met!
The Clarets last played Sunderland back in December at Turf Moor. It was a match we threw away after leading 2-0 with a brace from Lafferty. The gaffer was widely criticised for making defensive substitutions and changing tactics which saw Sunderland come back into the game with two goals in the last 10 minutes. That 2-2 draw by many is believed to have been the reason psychologically we went on that winless run of 19 matches whilst at the same time,providing Sunderlannd with the belief that they could take the Championship!
It will be a miracle if we get anything from this match. Our form however of late if continued could give Sunderland some problems and a draw is not inconceivable-Sunderland 1-1 Clarets
Our last match of the season will be home to Coventry on Sunday 6th May. Dont forget this will also be a 1pm KO.