Date: 16th September 2011 at 6:25pm
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The Clarets will be hoping to put the awful performance and defeat against Boro in their last game behind them when they play Peterborough at London Road this Saturday.

The Pre-amble:

It has to be said Burnley have struggled so far in the 2011-12 campaign and have managed just one win from five Championship games. They have yet to win at home too and in their last game against Middlesbrough at Turf Moor last Saturday put in their worst performance of the season. It may have been only a 2-0 defeat but we were outplayed in all departments. We simply seemed to lack quality and experience and of course that perhaps could be expected considering the number of players we have released or lost in the summer and not replaced. It was quite clear against Boro that we missed the likes of Eagles, Mears, Fox and Elliott and arguably maybe even the likes of Grezza and Carlisle in defence and holding midfield! We certainly missed Jack Cork!

The bizarre thing as well was the fact that the starting eleven was exactly the same as the one that faced Derby County before the international break at Pride Park. A game of course which we won against all the odds putting in a stunning performance against the high-flying Rams to get out first Championship win on the table. Well now we have out chance to get our first back-to-back away win since we inflicted defeat on Preston and Hull last season in the spring. On Saturday, the team travel to Peterborough to play the Championship new boys at London Road.

Posh have had a somewhat indifferent start to their new campaign. They managed of course to demolish local rivals, Ipswich 7-1 at home earlier in the season but have not won since and of course have also said goodbye to their leading goal-scorer, Craig Mackail-Smith in the summer. The 27-year-old scored 99 goals during a four-and-a-half year spell with the London Road side but then joined Brighton in July 2011. Peterborough have now gone three games without a win including two home defeats against Hull in their last game and against Middlesbrough in the Carling Cup. The other game was ironically away to Brighton with Craig Mackail-Smith playing against them! At least he didn`t score in the 2-0 loss! Before the defeat against Hull though they had not lost at London Road since November, so the Clarets will be hoping they don`t return to that form and that they can now inflict the third straight home defeat on the East Anglia club.

Peterborough are currently in 11th spot with seven points from six games. Posh have two more points than Burnley but have played a game more. A win for the Clarets would certainly ease the tension with the club in 20th spot and only avoiding the drop zone on goal difference.

One interesting fact concerning these two teams will leave Clarets fans hoping that Posh don`t corner us! Peterborough have had 55 corners so far in this Championship campaign and no other team can better that! Burnley certainly can`t, they have had only 22 awarded, the lowest in the league! Mind you would they score from them anyway? Posh also have an impressive 67 attempts on goal in their league games so far, again more than anybody in the Championship.

Somehow we have to keep them at bay and sneak a victory. It would also be nice to stop them scoring since we have not kept a clean sheet now in 19 league and cup matches!

Peterborough United Team News:

Posh boss Darren Ferguson believes defender; Gabriel Zakuani will be able to play in Saturday’s game against the Clarets despite suffering a broken toe in the home defeat against Hull last weekend. He was forced off early in the second half of the match against the Tigers.

Their new striker, Emile Sinclair could also make his first start after signing from Macclesfield last month. The 23 year old signed a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee back in August but so far as had to be content with coming on from the bench.

Player to watch: George Boyd

The Clarets were linked with Boyd during the summer when Posh Director of Football, Barry Fry controversially put his foot in it by suggesting we were seeking a player/fee deal involving Ross Wallace going the other way! In the end nothing came of it with the Clarets denying the Wallace rumour and promptly promoting him to the Number 7 shirt! Boyd stayed at London Road and we brought in winger, Keith Treacy instead.

The 25 year old attacking midfielder/winger has made a name for himself at Peterborough since joining Posh from Stevenage Borough in January 2007 for £260,000. After a loan spell at Nottingham Forest during the 2009-10 season, he returned to London Road penning a new three-year deal in July 2010. During the club’s successful 2010-11 promotion campaign, Boyd scored 17 goals in 51 appearances and this season has already hit the back of the net a couple of times.

Burnley Team News:

Strikers, Martin Paterson (thigh) and Danny Ings (torn cartilage) remain sidelined as they each recover from a long-term injury. Michael Duff too is also recovering from a knee injury.

There are however no further injuries for Howe to worry about and no suspensions. Probably just as well considering the size of our squad and the number of players available at the moment.

Player to watch: Chris McCann

I think it really is time for McCann to make his mark as captain or give up gracefully. He looks out of his depth and just doesn`t on the face of it seem to display much passion not gee up the players when they need a kick. He needed to against Boro and there was not much evidence of it! If he was using telepathy, it wasn`t working! My other concern is that the responsibility seems to be affecting his game and maybe if would be fairer on both the player and the team, if Howe reviewed the situation. The trouble is though who has enough experience to be given the responsibility anyway? From those given the armband at some stage during last season, Carlisle, Elliott, and Grezza have gone and Duff is injured! That leaves Marney who had a terrible game in midfield against Boro. How have we allowed ourselves to get in such a mess?

Team & Tactics

Now there is a conundrum for Eddie Howe! Do you make changes to a team that played so badly at home to Boro in our last game or keep with the exact same team that so convincingly beat Derby County in their last match on the road just before the international break? Even if he does want to make changes, he does not have many options with such a threadbare squad and one that has not been added to this week in terms of any new loan signings.

The team is crying out for some experience in the back four and in midfield but we just do not have any. Things are now so desperate, some Clarets fans are ruing the fact that Grezza and Carlisle are no longer with us and are saying we should never have let Wade Elliott go! They have a point!

With Danny Ings, Michael Duff and Martin Paterson all out injured and discounting the development squad most of whom are out on loan anyway, the sixteen almost picks itself! It is just as well they reduced the subs bench from 7 to 5 this season or we would have been struggling to fill it!

I am not sure which way Howe will go, he might view Boro as a one off disaster and hope the form returns a la Rams. He should make some changes though in my opinion just to make it plain that the gaffer will not tolerate such poor performances as Boro again! This time I will simply go with the team I would like to see rather than one I expect Howe to choose.

Try this for size:

Jensen, Trippier, Edgar, Amougou, Mee, Stanislas, McCann, Bartley, Treacy, Austin, Hines

Subs: Grant, Easton, Marney, Wallace, Rodriguez

Yep, I know fairly radical! Mee can play left-back so try him there and bring Amougou back in the centre of defence. On his day, Amougou is by far our most solid defender providing he can keep those Bikey-moments under control. Stanislas gives you options both on flank and in attack. He could take on that old Eagles role playing freely behind the front two. Make one of the front two, Hines. He might gel with his former West Ham team mate and also a partnership with Austin over 90 minutes would be worth evaluating. Rodriguez needs a rest; he has looked under par in last few games. If this plan doesn`t work, we could always revert to Plan B and shift more towards the starting line-up from last two games.

Ref Watch:

We will have a referee in charge of his first game featuring the Clarets this Saturday. Jock Waugh from South Yorkshire gets this one! Waugh has been involved in three Football League seasons so far and this will be only his second Championship game. He was last involved however in a Clarets game when he was one of the assistant referees in the match against Barnsley in November 2008 at Oakwell; a clash we lost 3-2. He has been a little trigger-happy handing out cards so far this season averaging about three/game. In a total of six games, 17 yellow cards and one red have been shown so far in Carling Cup and lower league games.

Match Prediction:

It all depends which Burnley team turns up! The same starting eleven has just played two consecutive games at the complete opposite ends of the spectrum. A brilliant 2-1 away win at Derby County was followed after the international break with the horror show at Turf Moor that was Boro!

We could easily beat Posh if we play like we did against the Rams but the thought of another performance like the Boro game fills you with the upmost negativity and dread! Sod it, 1-1 draw and even then my heart is ruling my head!

Next Match

The Clarets play a third round Carling Cup game against League 1, MK Dons at Turf Moor on Tuesday 20th September next week (Kick-Off-7:45pm) before returning to Championship duty with a tricky home game against currently second-placed Southampton at Turf Moor on Saturday 24th September (Kick-Off:3pm). Oh great a chance to see what we are missing with Danny Fox and Jack Cork possibly facing us!