Date: 19th July 2011 at 9:46am
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The Clarets commence their mini-tour of the South West of England today (Tuesday 19th July and tonight play their third pre-season friendly of the summer against Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium (Kick-Off: 7:45pm) They will be looking to continue their winning ways after so far defeating Altrincham 4-2 at Moss Lane and Bury 3-0 at Gigg Lane.

The Pre-amble

Burnley with two pre-season victories under their belt so far will be hoping to maintain their 100% record with a third win this time away to Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night.

What do we know about the League 2 side? Well the Pirates suffered relegation from League 1 last season and have been significantly rebuilding in the summer hoping for an immediate return. They appointed former Torquay gaffer, Paul Buckle their manager in May this year and so far he has shifted 13 players out of the club and brought in 13 new faces to replace them! Rovers are current second favourites with the bookies to be promoted with Crawley in top spot and they have also had a good pre-season having won all four of their friendlies to date including a 5-1 drubbing of Man United! Don`t get excited though, I am reliably informed by Hankydoodle from the Vital Bristol Rovers site that this Man United refers to a local non-league Bristol club called Mangotsfield United! The Pirates though have also beaten Salisbury City 5-1, Bath City 2-0 and played out a 2-2 draw with Inverness C.T.

The clash on Tuesday night against Championship opposition will be their toughest test to date and the Clarets in theory should be able to show their class and come out victors. Clarets fans travelling down for the game will be visiting the Memorial Stadium probably for the first time. The last time we played the Pirates was at their old Eastville Stadium (see ‘Last Time We Met` below). Rovers moved to the Memorial Stadium (Capacity 12,100) for the start of the 1996-97 season and share their ground, affectionately known as ‘The Mem` with Bristol Rugby Club. Their days there are however numbered. In June 2011, the club announced its intention to relocate the club to a new 20,000 all seater stadium, to be built on land at the University of the West of England’s Frenchay campus.

So what of the Clarets? What sort of tactics can we expect? Well it looks like we might not repeat the ‘game of two halves` approach we have adopted so far. Basically we have put out two completely different teams for each half in our previous two games away to Altrincham and Bury. In our last match at Gigg Lane though we did give extended run-outs to three players, Alex MacDonald, Wade Elliott and David Edgar but it looks like Howe now wants to up the tempo and give some of his players nearer a full 90 minute workout.

“I think we will probably play the players for a longer period down there. They have done well, they have looked fit and it will be a case now of pushing them nearer to 90 minutes, said Howe

“It will be good to get some game time under their belts as we hit the run-in to pre-season”

Burnley are spending five days in the South West combining training with the two friendly games (Torquay to follow on Saturday) and by the end of the tour the fine-tuning should be well underway with Clarets fans beginning to see how we might line-up come Saturday August 6th when we kick-off the new season with a home game against Watford

Bristol Rovers Team News:

Bristol Rovers now have thirteen new summer signings on their books. It is anybody`s guess whether we shall see all thirteen new players in action against the Clarets but Buckle does have a few injury concerns. Defenders Charlie Clough (knee) and Gary Sawyer (hernia) may not feature and young prospect, Ollie Clarke, a midfielder also has a knee injury.

Player to watch: Scott McGleish

We asked a Pirates fan (Hankydoodle) who we should be looking out for and he suggested striker, Scott McGleish. He is one of their new signings and arrived at the Memorial Stadium in June. At the ripe old age of 37 though, he has certainly played for a number of clubs during his career. His last club before signing for the Pirates was Leyton Orient and indeed he had four spells with this club, three of them on loan. Orient though released him in the summer before Rovers snapped him up. McGleish has also played for Edgware Town, Charlton Athletic Peterborough United, Barnet, Colchester United, Northampton Town and Wycombe Wanderers and had loan spells at Cambridge United twice. By all accounts he is having a good pre-season for the Pirates and has been racking up the goals. On average he scores a goal in every 3-4 games.

Burnley Team News:

Ben Mee looks likely to make his Clarets debut and Eddie Howe has also taken a promising young midfielder with him on tour. Steven Hewitt, just 17 signed a two year scholarship with the club in 2010 following two years at Turf Moor`s centre of excellence. Hewitt plays in the centre of midfield and has already featured in a number of games for the Reserves.

The full squad for the tour will be announced shortly sometime today but Clarets fans will be eagerly watching out for three names in particular. Will Chris Iwelumo be on the coach? He has strongly been linked with a move to Watford although one local paper today reports that no bids have yet been made. Martin Paterson was also rested against Bury after picking up a knock and Clarets fans will be hoping he will definitely be on the coach after strong links that Pompey were after the striker. Tyrone Mears was another who picked up a knock before the Bury game but he seems to be OK according to his latest tweet!

We will provide the full squad below this article, once it is announced

Player to watch: Ben Mee

All eyes will be on our only new signing of the summer so far! Ben Mee arrived on a season-long loan from Manchester City last week and the left-sided centre back comes highly rated. He also has some Championship experience having played for Leicester City on loan last season.

Last Time We Met

You have to go back to the 1999-2000 season for the last time we played the Pirates and honours were even back then. Rovers beat the Clarets 1-0 at their old Eastville Stadium on the night of Monday 30th August 1999. We lost that night to a 37th minute penalty but we reversed the score at Turf Moor in the return clash on Saturday 5th February 2000. Glen Little scored the winning goal in the 69th minute. Stan Ternent was our manager back then of course and what a great season it would turn out to be. Burnley would finish 2nd and gain promotion to the second tier and Clarets fans would also be entertained by the arrival of England and Arsenal legend, Ian Wright but he did not arrive in time for any of the Pirates games.

Match Prediction:

Well we should be too strong for the League 2 side and a 2-0 win looks on the cards.

Next Pre-Season Friendly

The Clarets continue their South West tour of England travelling down to (hopefully sunny) Torquay for a friendly against The Gulls at Plainmoor on Saturday 23rd July (Kick-Off: 3pm)