The Clarets in the Red corner face Barnsley in the White corner in this intriguing Boxing Day clash at Turf Moor.
Burnley have not been defeated at Turf Moor now since the opening home game against Ipswich back in August and they are currently enjoying a run of six games without defeat with five wins and one draw. It is a sobering thought though that the last team to beat the Clarets were our Boxing Day opponents.
At Oakwell in front of the Sky cameras last month, everything looked bleak with Barnsley 3-0 ahead after 51 minutes. However an inspired substitution by Coyle in the second half saw Martin Paterson come on and score a brace of goals. In the last 20 minutes of the half, with the Tykes on the back foot, the Clarets pushed forward to try and get what proved to be an elusive equaliser.
That 3-2 defeat will be at the back of our players` minds in the return match and they will be keen to get revenge and continue their advance.
Burnley are currently 4th on 43 points just six behind 2nd place Reading and four behind 3rd place Birmingham.. Even an automatic promotion place should not be ruled out at this stage although a play-offs position looks the most likely providing we don`t have a slump in the New Year.
Barnsley are having another average season and are currently in 17th place on just 28 points. We need to ensure we despatch teams like these convincingly and another 3 points on Boxing Day will ensure Christmas for once is all about winning after a great start beating Bristol City at Ashton Gate last Saturday.
Predicted Team Sheet
The Clarets will carry out late fitness tests on Wade Elliott and Kevin McDonald. McDonald has missed the last two matches with injury and Elliott missed the last game against Bristol City after picking up a foot injury.
If both fail to make the side, Owen Coyle will probably name the same sixteen that faced the Robins last Saturday. However, he might be tempted to start Steve Thompson in a true 4-4-2 formation with Paterson as his strike partner up front.
I suspect though we will line up as follows in 4-1-4-1 with Paterson alone up front:
Jensen, Duff, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Alexander, McCann, Gudjonsson, Eagles, Blake, Paterson
Subs: Penny, Mahon, Akinbiyi, MacDonald, Thompson.
If both Elliott and McDonald pass a late fitness test, both could be given a start with Gudjonsson and Duff on the bench allowing a 4-4-2 formation.
Jensen, Alexander, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Elliott, McCann, McDonald, Eagles, Blake, Paterson
Subs: Penny, Duff, Akinbiyi, Gudjonsson, Thompson.
Burnley Team News:
Kalvenes still seems to be sidelined with a leg injury and Elliott and McDonald face late fitness tests.
Player to watch: Martin Paterson
Let`s hope he can add to the brace he scored against Barnsley at Oakwell last month. Looks to be on fire at the moment and has tireless energy.
Barnsley Team News:
Argentinean midfielder Hugo Colace returns after suspension.
Dennis Souza (calf) and Martin Devaney (ankle) though will be sidelined
Darren Moore looks likely to partner former Clarets defender, Stephen Foster after returning from injury last week.
Player to watch: Stephen Foster
The former Clarets defender failed to impress during his spell at Turf Moor but he has settled in well since joining Barnsley. He is now a firm favourite with the Tykes fans and captain of the side.
Last Time We Met
We have already mentioned the game at Oakwell this season last month. The game will be remembered for two main reasons, Barnsley’s contoversial second goal and Paterson’s brace!
Barnsley`s second goal should have been disallowed as clearly shown courtesy of the Sky Sports cameras that were televising the game.
Campbell-Ryce’s shot got a deflection into the net by Simon Whaley but as the cameras clearly indicated the ball came off Whaley`s arm and just for good measure he was standing in an offside position.
Barnsley though made it 3-0 shortly afterwards with the Clarets still stunned and protesting and it looked like game over before Paterson came on from the bench to score a brace and set up an exciting last 20 minutes. Despite our best efforts though, we lost 3-2 but haven`t been beaten since!
The fixture at Turf Moor last season earlier this year in March led to a 2-1 victory for the Clarets with Elliott and Lafferty getting our goals.
Scott Mathieson (Cheshire)
I think we will be far too strong for Barnsley and expect the lads to put a few goals past them. We have had a knack of scoring three goals in recent home games and then resting on our laurels. I am hoping we can get three or more goals this time but with 90 minutes consistency. If we do get ahead 3-0, it will be time for killer instinct this time. Goal difference could well play a part in deciding who reaches the automatic promotion and play-offs places so we really do need to know how to tonk teams and avoid taking our foot of the accelerator.
Go on then 4-0 Clarets!!!
It`s over to the Keepmoat on Sunday 28th December to play Doncaster Rovers in yet another Roses duel over this festive season. 3pm Kick-Off