Date: 2nd January 2009 at 10:51am
Written by:

In probably one of the least inspiring ties of the season, the Clarets kick-off their FA Cup campaign this Saturday and play QPR in the Third Round at Loftus Road.

We seem to attract London clubs in Cup competitions like flies this season so will we be handing out more Capital Punishment?

The problem is Clarets fans are probably more interested in the Carling Cup Semi-Final First Leg against Spurs at White Hart Lane just three days later on the night of Tuesday 6th January. It also begs the question whether we should risk injury and suspension by selecting our best eleven for the FA Cup game.

If we did this could jeopardise our best chance of reaching Wembley and maybe even Europe if we can defeat Spurs over two legs.

Kirby and Coyle have also made it plain that fringe players could be up for sale in the January window in an effort to release funds for new players so maybe it is time to give these fringe players a run out to fight for their careers at Burnley or showboat themselves for potential buyers.

I have to say I would not be too concerned if we got knocked out and a draw would be the worst thing possible, with games mounting up and with a promotion chance and Wembley still going begging.

It will be interesting to see if Coyle is tempted by the typical Premier League approach of playing weakened sides when they have other priorities.

Predicted Team Sheet

Of course we want to win every game but let`s give the other squad players a run out so has not to jeopardise more important results.

We have to keep something in reserve for the Spurs game three days later and can’t run the risk of injury or suspension to our key players.

We already have problems in the back four though with both Jordan and Caldwell suspended for the QPR game, so let`s hope that Kalvenes is now available after suffering a persistent leg injury for some weeks.

It is time too that we play Van der Schaaf maybe in the holding midfield role so Alexander can play at right back. I would also give the young guns a run out, they will be keen to impress and catch the manager`s eye.

If there are problems still with Kalvenes’ fitness Coyle may well be forced to consider Wade Elliott and/or Chris McCann as cover in the back four.

Personally I would select the following team and hold our big guns in reserve on the bench:

Penny, Alexander, Duff, Carlisle, Kalvenes, Van der Schaaf, Mahon, McCann, MacDonald, Blake, Rodriguez

Subs from: Jensen, McDonald, Paterson, Thompson, Akinbiyi, Eagles, Elliott, Kay, Gudjonsson, Berisha

Another possibility would be to play Thompson up front, he is cup tied anyway and won`t be able to feature in the Spurs games.

Queens Park Rangers Team News:

QPR gaffer Paulo Sousa looks to have virtually a full squad available.

There are just two long-term injured players, striker Rowan Vine (broken leg) and midfielder Akos Buzsaky (cruciate ligament)

Player to watch: Dexter Blackstock

Their top scorer this season with 10 goals in the Championship. One of which was against the Clarets at Loftus Road in November.

Burnley Team News:

News is awaited on the fitness of Kalvenes and McDonald. Both Caldwell (straight red against Doncaster) and Jordan (five yellows) are suspended for this game.

Player to watch: One of the Young Guns!

It is difficult to know who to select until we see the team that Coyle puts out. Paterson will be on fire as usual if he plays but I would like to see one of the young guns in the starting eleven being allowed to shine and fight for a regular first team place.

Last Time We Met

We defeated QPR at Loftus Road in a league game only last November winning the match 2-1 thanks to goals from Blake and Mahon.

Loftus Road has been a happy hunting ground in recent seasons. The Clarets also have a 100% FA Cup record against QPR, having won both previous ties in 1921 and 1962

Ref Watch:

Tony Bates (Staffordshire). The referee is a… Master bates!!

Match Prediction:

This really does depend which team Coyle puts out. Our full strength side could beat QPR at Loftus Road for the second time this season but playing our big guns would be risky with Spurs coming up and leave nothing in reserve.

The worse possible result would be a draw and yet another game to play with a replay if required scheduled for Tuesday, 13 January 2009 @7:45 pm KO.

I will go for 1-0 Clarets no matter which team we put out but won`t be crying in my coffee if we lose

Next Match

It`s the big one against Spurs at White Hart Lane in the first leg of the Carling Cup Semi-Final on the night of Tuesday 6th January @7:45pm KO