Its the big local derby this Saturday as the Clarets face bottom club, Preston North End at Turf Moor. Not many times, if at all have you been able to say the bottom club is Preston, and the sad reason they are there today is due to the fact that the previous bottom club, QPR beat us at Turf Moor last Tuesday night! The embarassing 2-0 defeat prevented the Clarets reaching the dizzy heights of 4th in the Championship and meant we lost our game in hand advantage. Typical Burnley!
Oh well its not the end of the world but we need to bounce back quickly against our local rivals with an emphatic win at home, to put a stop to our dreadful home form. Losing three games and only securing two draws in our last five home matches, makes disturbing reading and this despite an amazing away form that has seen us win the last four away matches claiming the Top Six scalps of Watford, Charlton and Wolves!
We are currently 8th but only one point behind sixth placed club Wolves, so a good win tomorrow could see us advance up to the play off positions. Preston will not be looking forward to this match, new manager Alan Irvine has seen his team fall to the very bottom after losing four of his five games.
The acting Captain for the Clarets will presumably be Graham Alexander again and one wonders what thoughts are going through his mind as he contemplates playing against his former colleagues for the first time.
Owen Coyle tasted his first defeat in charge of the Clarets last Tuesday night, describing it as a ‘kick in the teeth’ It certainly spoiled his impressive record which now reads four wins, two draws and one defeat whilst Burnley gaffer.
He has however received some good news on the injury front this week with both Jordan and Spicer now fit for selection. Caldwell returned to training this week as well but it will be a tall ask to expect him to feature in this match despite the hamstring injury to Clarke Carlisle ruling him out of the rivals match tomorrow.
The injury to Carlisle will mean at least one change to the sixteen for the first time in seven matches and there is also an injury concern over Alan Mahon, who also has a hamstring problem although there is a possibility he could be declared fit in time for the match.
A possible sixteen therefore could be as follows depending on who is declared fit:
Kiraly, Alexander, Unsworth, McCann, Harley, Spicer, Gudjonsson, Elliott, Lafferty, Gray, Blake
Subs: Jensen, Jordan, Mahon, Akinbiyi, James O’Connor
‘Form goes out the window in derby games. It doesn’t matter who you play or where they are in the table.I have a good record of derbies but that won’t count for anything now.
‘This is a new era and it will be a difficult game against Preston.We want to enjoy the atmosphere and play to our own standards, passing and moving the ball the way we want to.
‘But we need to make sure we do it effectively and that we take our chances. It is all about showing that you’ve got that desire to win.’
Burnley Team News:
Jordan and Spicer are available for selection but Clarke Carlisle is ruled out with an hamstring injury.
Alan Mahon also picked up a slight hamstring injury in the QPR match and faces late fitness tests.
Caldwell is getting close to a return after training this week and even Duff and Berisha could feature in the New Year after some good news this week concerning their cruciate ligamant injuries.
Player to watch: Andy Gray
Perhaps a little lacklustre against QPR along with Blake but if that partnership gets going again, expect Andy to find the back of the net and increase his goal tally from the current 14 goals so far this season
Preston North End Team News:
Preston manager Alan Irvine has virtually a full squad to choose from although Brett Ormerod will be sidelines with a calf injury.
Captain Kevin Nicholls is also not quite ready despite his return to training following knee and calf injuries.
Player to watch: Andy Lonergan
Aye watch him continually have to pick the ball out of the back of the net! (Er please!!!)
Last Time We Met
We suffered a 2-0 defeat at their place last season back in March during the height of that 19 winless run. In the home tie though in front of the cameras back in October 2006, we had probably one of the best matches of the season, coming from 2-1 behind to win the match 3-2 thanks to goals from James O’Connor, an own goal from St Ledger and the winner from Andy Gray.
I think we going to impress tomorrow and break our poor form at Turf Moor. Despite the derby jitters, I think we could win 3-0
Ipwich Town away at Portman Road on Saturday 22nd December with a 3pm KO