The Clarets are still seeking that elusive first league away win of the season and this Saturday at the Ricoh Arena they will be hoping that Coventry City become their first victims.
Burnley basically got out of jail at home to Watford last Saturday coming from 2-1 behind to secure a 3-2 victory. Their first win in five league games came as a welcome relief despite a number of concerns in terms of performance during the first hour of the match. The win though saw the Clarets enter the play-offs positions climbing three places to 6th spot. Can they now string a little run together? They will certainly need to start doing that if they are to keep up any hope of securing an automatic promotion place with League leaders, Cardiff City already ten points clear of Burnley with second-placed QPR a point behind them.
It has been a frustrating time for the Clarets on the road and they are rapidly becoming the draw kings in the Championship. They have so far drawn 8 league games this season and six of those draws have been on their travels. In two of those games Burnley also lost a two goal lead against Sheffield United and Norwich City and had we secured victory at Bramall Lane and Carrow Road we would now be on 30 points and in 4th place!
A draw on the road under normal circumstances is often seen as a ‘result` but in Burnley`s case we now desperately need to win a match away from Turf Moor and keep the momentum going for an automatic promotion push. The Clarets fans would find it hard to stomach yet another draw and somehow we have to break this away jinx that seems to have affected the club. We have not won away now since our victory in the Premier League against Hull City at the KC Stadium back in April this year.
Coventry, our opponents this Saturday are currently in 11th place but just two points behind the Clarets clearly showing yet again how tight this division can be with so many clubs at this stage still in with a chance of promotion via the play-offs route.
They have an indifferent home form though and indeed lost their last match at the Ricoh Arena going down 3-2 to Leeds United and have since followed that up with two away defeats to Forest and Palace. The Clarets will be hoping to inflict the fourth straight defeat on the Sky Blues and make their home form look even worse. So far this season they have won 4, lost 3 and drawn one game at the Ricoh.
Coventry City Team News:
Coventry City manager Aidy Boothroyd will be unable to call upon defensive midfielder and Northern Ireland international, Sammy Clingan. He is still sidelined with a knee injury. Defender, Ben Turner is also out injured.
Coventry though welcome back winger David Bell to the squad after a long spell out with injury. Striker, Clive Platt is also back in contention after missing Coventry`s last game away to Palace. He picked up a calf injury in their last home game against Leeds.
Player to watch: Gary McSheffrey
Locally born striker and left winger, Gary McSheffrey, now 28 is enjoying his second spell at Coventry. In his first spell he played for the club between 1998 and 2006 before signing for Birmingham for an estimated £4 million in August 2006. McSheffrey was released by Birmingham at the end of last season and rejoined the Sky Blues in July 2010. He typically scores a goal in one in every three games so our back four will need to be on their guard this Saturday.
Burnley Team News:
Danny Fox missed last week’s win over Watford after being stretchered off with an ankle injury in the recent midweek 1-1 draw against Doncaster Rovers. Brian Easton slotted into the left back spot and he looks set to start again following official news that Fox will still be sidelined for the clash against his former club. The club are awaiting scan results before the weekend so they can establish the extent of Fox`s injury.
The news regarding Martin Paterson though sounds a little more hopeful. Brian Laws said:
‘Pato has trained this week and will train again on Friday with an assessment to see if he’s up to scratch for the Coventry game.’
Martin Paterson has been suffering from a thigh strain which he picked up towards the end of the first half against Doncaster Rovers.
These would appear to be the only injury concerns for Laws ahead of the Coventry clash
Player to watch: Ross Wallace
Wallace came on from the bench in the 66th minute against Watford last Saturday and became our saviour. At 2-1 down he scored to put us level and then put over a cross that directly led to a penalty from which Grezza scored. His energy and effort was rewarded with the fans texted Man of the Match award so it will be interesting to see if he gets a start against Coventry. The difficulty could be finding him a place in the team but if anybody could be dropped that would have to be Elliott. He has not been on form for the last couple of games or so.
Team & Tactics
Many Clarets fans have been calling for a different strategy particularly on the road and I am certainly one of an increasing number of fans who are now pleading for a twin-strike force up front in a 4-4-2 formation. As if by magic we all seem to have been vindicated by the result against Watford at Turf Moor last Saturday. For the first sixty minutes of this match playing 4-5-1 (or as some prefer to call it 4-3-3) we were pretty woeful and lacklustre. We quite frankly deserved to be 2-1 down. Laws at long last then decided to make a double substitution and move to 4-4-2 with the result that we finished up winning the game 3-2!
Does there lie a lesson? Will Laws now try starting with 4-4-2 and provide some company for the lone striker up front? Maybe that is why Iwelumo has yet to score on the road this season despite being our top scorer? Martin Paterson is not a winger nor is he particularly effective alone up front since he lacks height. Chris Iwelumo has the height, but most of his headers finish up in no-man`s land with little support around him, Surely they should play off each other and maximise our chances of scoring? The same applies to Jay Rodriguez. He is a natural striker, like Pato so why do we persist in plating them both out wide? If Paterson is fit this Saturday it will be interesting to see if either he or Jay Rod get a starting eleven position and if so in which position.
Something tells me Brian Laws will revert to type and we will be back to playing 4-5-1 which is a shame. I won`t predict the eighteen for this match but will rather provide my preferred team sheet playing 4-4-2. Two strikers up front yes but also for heaven`s sake let`s play Elliott back on the wing with Eagles on the opposite flank. If not then drop Elliott to the bench and play Wallace on the wing with Cork and Marney in the centre of midfield. Cork can play a more defensive midfield role if need be and we can always revert back to 4-5-1 if things start going tits-up.
I would go with this selection but realise I haven`t a cat in hells chance of actually seeing it happen!
Grant, Mears, Duff, Carlisle, Easton, Elliott, Cork, Marney, Eagles, Iwelumo, Paterson (if fit or Rodriguez)
Subs: Jensen, Edgar, Bikey, Alexander, Wallace, Thompson, Rodriguez (or Paterson)
County Durham referee, David Webb is in charge of this one. Webb was promoted to the National List of Referees in 2008. He seems particularly card happy this season and in the twelve games in which he has featured he has already handed out three red cards and 38 yellow ones!
Burnley have had the upper hand against Coventry City since the sides first met in 1911. They have won 22 of the 44 matches played drawing 11 games. In more recent times, Coventry have also lost 3 of their last five meetings against Burnley.
How many times do I have to predict an away win only to not get one? Law of Averages surely must be kicking in soon whether we play well or not so blow it, 2-1 Clarets!
Derby County are the visitors to Turf Moor on Saturday 27th November. The Rams are currently 4th just one point ahead of the Clarets so this clash is shaping up to be a six-pointer. Clarets fans going to this game are reminded that this match is being televised live by Sky Sports so will consequently kick-off at 5:20pm.