Right Back in Agony

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The misery for the Clarets continued last night at Roots Hall with the lads going down 1-0 thanks to an injury time goal from Foran in the 92nd minute. This was not a match for the neutral and was a tense, scrappy affair between two obviously struggling sides. As the match unfolded it became clear that as far as the Clarets were concerned, it would be the right back position that would cause the team the most problems and give Steve Cotterill some major headaches and further injury worries in the back four.

There were no major shocks to the Clarets line-up and as predicted, Lafferty would be named on the bench after his one match ban.

Coyne, Harley, McGreal, Caldwell, Duff, Elliott, Gudjonsson, J O’Connor, McCann, Gray, Akinbiyi.

Subs: Jones, Djemba-Djemba, Spicer, Foster, Lafferty

The line up was similar to the previous match against Palace although this time Harley returned to his more familiar Left Back role with McCann on the left side of midfield.

As the lads came onto the pitch in their award-winning yellow strip, it was noted that Steven Caldwell had his right-hand strapped up. It would appear he had broken a bone in the hand which seems to be a continuation of problems and lack of luck that we are having with injuries in the back four at the moment! Thankfully, this didnt appear to effect Caldwell’s performance and indeed he was the Clarets Man of the Match in this game by the end.

A late change in the referee saw Paul Taylor (Hertfordshire) officiate in this game as he got the match underway.

The Clarets put the Shrimpers under some early pressure and soon had a corner after 3 minutes with Caldwell heading wide from an in-swinger from Gudjonsson.

However after only 7 minutes the first hint of bizarre luck and activity in the Clarets back four took place with McGreal hobbling off to be replaced by Foster. Foster took up the right back position with Duff moving to the centre.

After 10 minutes, Southend came into the game after a Clarets offside trap failed but the attack came to nothing.

Gudjonnson was booked after 11 minutes

There was not much action for the rest of the first half and the game became more and more scrappy with clearly both sides battling under tension.Wade Elliott with five minutes to go before half-time brought a save from Flahavan at his near post but that was it and the teams went in 0-0 at the break.

The second half continued very much like the first with no side looking likely to get that all important first goal.

Eastwood however came close after five minutes firing just wide.

Harley became the second Clarets player to be booked after 51 minutes taking his tally to nine for the season. This is rather worrying considering our predicament in the back four. One more booking and he would face a two match ban.

After 60 minutes, Steve Cotterill tried to break the deadlock by replacing the lacklustre Gudjonsson with Kyle Lafferty with McCann moving into the centre of midfield

As the game descended into an even more scrappy affair, the Clarets continued to have their share of misfortune in the back four.

The Clarets having already lost McGreal to injury, now had to substitute his replacment, Foster who himself limped off after 75 minutes. John Spicer came on with Elliott now moving to the right back position.

Southend probably had their best spell after this substitution as the Clarets tried to re-adjust to all the back four and midfield changes forced upon them.

It was not helped after 88 minutes when James O’Connor became the third Claret to go in the book for a foul on Foran. He too is now on 9 bookings and could face a two-match ban if booked again.

By now a draw looked a fair result but the misery for the Clarets continued in the 92nd minute when Foran pounced to get the late winner. Cotterill looked a broken man after the goal and who can blame him. The back four changes and injuries probably allowed Southend to get all three points since the goal was clearly a mistake by Wade Elliott in his unfamiliar right back role.

Even more farce was to follow and give our manager more potential back four headaches as Duff went down with a calf and knee injury and hobbled out the rest of the last few seconds before the whistle went to end another dreadful night for the Clarets.

The result of this match now means we have gone 17 matches without a win, 16 in the League. We are still however thankfully in 18th place with two games in hand over most of the clubs below us. It is getting scary though as we are now only four points ahead of the third from bottom club, QPR.

This situation is becoming increasingly worrying and this is probably the worst time possible to be playing our local rivals, Preston away in the next match. We really need to cheer the lads on in this match and who knows stranger things have happened and the Clarets do tend to raise their game against high-flying opposition.

Two games in hand over most of the teams behind us, a vastly superior goal difference and after Preston, 6 home games in our final nine matches. We also have to play Luton at home and Leeds away. These are clearly becoming crunch matches now.

We have to pray wins against Luton at least if not Leeds will condemn both those clubs to relegation with the hope that at least one from Hull, Southend, Barnsley and QPR will not put in a run of form.

Surely we can win soon, we have to! This is just getting ridiculous. One record I dont want to see by season end is beating the 24 games without a win we clocked up straddling two seasons over 1979-80.

18 Burnley 36 -3 41

19 Hull 38 -15 41

20 Southend 38 -19 38

21 Barnsley 37 -23 38

22 QPR 37 -16 37

23 Luton 38 -18 36

24 Leeds 38 -25 35

One of the most worrying developments for Steve Cotterill though must be the injury problems in the back four and especially the situation regarding right back.

Wayne Thomas: Currently recovering from a cartilage operation

John McGreal: Limped off with groin injury

Steve Foster: Limped off with Achilles and Ankle injuries

Michael Duff: Calf & Knee injuries

What an headache for our manager. The back four choice for Preston is going to be an interesting one. 2,400 tickets have been bought by Clarets fans for this local derby with about 900 still available. Guess we all have to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves down yet again!


Burnley: Coyne, Harley, McGreal ((Foster 7, (Spicer 75)), Caldwell, Duff, Elliott, Gudjonsson (Lafferty 60), J O’Connor, McCann, Gray, Akinbiyi.

Subs: Jones, Djemba-Djemba.

Booked: Gudjonsson 11, Harley 52, J O’Connor 89

Southend: Flahavan, Francis, Hunt, Gower (Harrold 80), Maher, Eastwood, Bradbury (Foran 70), Clarke, Sodje, Campbell-Ryce (Sam 70), McCormack.

Subs: Collis, Hammell.

Booked: McCormack 65

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Vital BFC Editor