Date: 10th February 2009 at 2:53pm
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The Clarets for the first time since mid December do not have to worry about a midweek game this week having previously played the last eight consecutive weeks at the rate of two games/week. Indeed this is only the tenth time this season the Clarets have not had a match during the week.

It should be a welcome break considering the team have virtually played a season’s worth of games already having clocked up their 42nd against Birmingham at St Andrews on Saturday. Not bad for a squad that still remains effectively one of the smallest in the Championship considering the long-term cruciate injury to loan, Russell Anderson and the fact we now have another four players out on loan (Kiraly, Berisha, Jones and Van der Schaaf) with perhaps more to follow (Ade?)

If the players are tired they haven’t shown it recently having shown a a return to form with wins against Charlton and Premier League side West Brom at home before earning a well-earned draw at high-flying Birmingham last Saturday.

If they did want a rest until their next game against league leaders, Wolves at Turf Moor this Saturday then most of the squad will get one.Owen Coyle has insisted they take a break.

Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph the gaffer said:

“It`s been a big ask of them – 42 games – and we certainly won`t know what to do with ourselves this week when we`ve no midweek game! They`ll get a couple of days’ rest, and it will be rest. I`ve stressed that to them. When you`re given days off, it`s not to go off golfing and what have you, it`s to rest up and make sure that you`re focused. It`s not just a physical thing, it`s mentally as well, because we need the level of concentration and the desire to do well for the football club’

Two players though won’t get the luxury of a rest due to International matches this week and they have already teamed up with their International colleagues after travelling out on Sunday.

Martin Paterson is hoping to feature in Northern Ireland’s World Cup qualifier in San Marino on Wednesday (7:30 pm KO) and looks up for it.

‘The lads deserve a rest, but unfortunately I don’t get one,’ said Paterson.

‘I have a midweek game at San Marino and it’s more travelling and another game, but it’s not a burden at all.

‘It’s a pleasure to play for your country and I will go away and train as hard as I can to try to get a game.’

Another of our players on International duty is Rhys Williams, our new loan defender from Middlesbrough. He stands to get his first full Welsh cap having been called up to John Toshack’s full squad as replacement for West Ham’s James Collins who has had to withdraw with four others.

Williams, 20 is already a Welsh Under 21 International and indeed his promotion to the first-team squad ensures he will now miss playing for the Wales U-21 team against Northern Ireland U-21 in Ballymena tonight(Tuesday)

Wales are due to travel to Portugal for a friendly game against Poland in Vila Real St. Antonio on Wednesday this week.(5:15 pm KO)

Good luck to both of them and let us hope both come through injury and suspension free!