Managerless Burnley face Blackpool in a local derby at Turf Moor this Saturday desperate to get their season back on track following a torrid few weeks.
Well the International break is over and we started it with a manager in place and finished without one following the sudden resignation of Eddie Howe last Friday. Howe citing family reasons returned to AFC Bournemouth along with Jason Tindall leaving the Clarets in a bit of a pickle ahead of the important derby against Blackpool at Turf Moor this Saturday. It has been a week of gossip and rumour amongst the B clubs regarding various management positions. Uniquely Bolton, Blackburn and Burnley are now all looking for a new manager and even Blackpool have not escaped with reports that their current gaffer, Ian Holloway could be a target by Blackburn to replace Steve Kean.
The Clarets will face the Tangerines in the late kick-off match this Saturday (Sky live televised match Kick-Off 5:20pm) with caretaker manager and youth coach Terry Pashley in charge helped in the dugout by Andy Farrell, Billy Mercer and Jason Blake. It is perhaps just the sort of match where Burnley could raise their game and Blackpool will probably be wary of the situation. Ian Holloway`s mind might also be on his next career move so it looks like an intriguing game could be on the cards! Burnley have had a rough time of late on the pitch as well as off the pitch. Charlie Austin has been banging the goals in and is currently the leading goal scorer in the Championship by some distance with 12 goals so far. The problem has not been so much scoring but leaking goals at the other end. In our last game away to Crystal Palace before the international break, Burnley surrendered a two goal lead and via a catalogue of defensive blunders finished up losing the match 4-3. It was not much better in the two games before that both at home in which two draws were all we could muster against struggling Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday. The end result is that Burnley are now looking over their shoulder at a possible relegation dogfight. The club are currently in 16th spot with just 11 points from ten games just three more than the third from bottom club, Sheffield Wednesday. If the club could somehow find some consistency and string a few wins together though the Championship is so tight we could be back to being play-offs contenders. We are only six points behind the sixth placed club, Huddersfield at the moment but until a new manager is in place it is difficult to predict the chances of turning our season round.
Blackpool have had a much better season than Burnley so far although have recently hit a bad patch. They are currently in 8th place just one point away from the play-offs positions but have lost three of their last four matches with two home defeats against Charlton and Huddersfield and a loss away to Cardiff. They did however beat Hull 3-2 in their last away game and will be hoping to maintain the pressure on the leading pack.
Burnley Team News:
Danny Ings is back in full training has been given the green light to step up his involvement after recovering from knee surgery. There is even an outside chance he could take some part in the Blackpool game. Edgar though could be a doubt. The Canadian is not due back from international duty with Canada until this afternoon (Thursday), with a long haul flight from Honduras anticipated to take its toll on the defender. His potential replacement, Michael Duff was sidelined with injury before the international break and news is awaited to see if the rest has improved his chances of featuring on Saturday. Otherwise caretaker manager, Terry Pashley hopes to have a fully-fit squad to choose from.
Player to watch: Jason Shackell
If ever we need the captain to show his mettle now is the time. Not only does he have to motivate the team after some disappointing results but also play a key part in the back four and try and stem the flow of goals scored against.
Blackpool Team News:
Ian Holloway appears to have a full squad to choose from with no suspensions to worry about or fresh injury concerns. If there are any announcements ahead of the game we will update beneath this article.
Player to watch: Nathan Delfouneso
A familiar face could be on show playing for Blackpool this Saturday. Former loan striker, Nathan Delfouneso is now playing for the Tangerines having agreed a season-long loan from Aston Villa in August 2012. He had a loan spell at Turf Moor signing from Aston Villa in March 2011 until the end of the season, He scored on his debut in the game away to Hull but then the goals dried up and he returned to Villa without adding to his tally from his 11 appearances. The 21 year old England Under 21 international also add a loan spell at Leicester City earlier this year and so far has scored twice for Blackpool in seven appearances; a brace in the 4-1 home win against Middlesbrough last month.
Team & Tactics:
Hopefully the International break has allowed a few knocks and injuries to heel. Edgar though reeling from Canada`s exit from the World Cup after an 8-1 thumping in Honduras and playing the full 90 minutes might be rested although at the moment he has rejoined his team mates ahead of the Blackpool clash and could be in contention. His obvious replacement would be Duff but he too was suffering from injury before the break and news is awaited to see if he is fit. I would not expect the side to line-up with a five man midfield playing at home. In the last game away to Palace, Paterson played a wider role with Bartley, McCann and Marney in the centre. I suspect this time we shall revert to 4-4-2 with Paterson and Austin our twin strike force up front. Wallace could therefore return to the starting line-up. I will go with the following eighteen :
Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Edgar, Mee, Wallace, McCann, Marney, Stanislas, Austin, Paterson
Subs: Jensen, Mills, Long or Duff (if fit), Bartley, Stock, Stewart, Vokes.
Premier League referee, Michael Oliver is in charge of this clash just like he was in the same fixture last season, his last game involving the Clarets. That game played in October 2011 finished up 3-1 to Burnley so Clarets fans will be hoping the Northumberland referee is a good omen on Saturday. In the game last season only two players were booked and to be honest Oliver is not particularly card happy. Last season he only sent four players off in 36 games and showed yellow 94 times. This season only one red card in seven games has been shown along with 15 yellows so far.
When the Clarets have their backs against the wall, they typically provide a few shocks and come out fighting when least expected. I have a sneaky feeling Burnley without a manager will come out on top and win this one. We can expect another high-scoring game though with Burnley probably just shading it. I will go with 3-2 Clarets.
The Clarets face two tricky away games after the Blackpool clash. They travel to the West Country to play Bristol City at Ashton Gate on the night of Tuesday 23rd October (Kick-Off 7:45pm) and then face current league leaders, Cardiff City on the following Saturday. (27th October Kick-Off 3pm)