Date: 22nd July 2011 at 5:41pm
Written by:

The Clarets continue their mini-tour of the South West of England on Saturday 23rd July when they play their fourth pre-season friendly of the summer and their second of the tour against Torquay United at Plainmoor (Kick-Off: 3pm)) They will be looking to get back to winning ways after the 2-0 defeat to Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium in midweek.

The Pre-amble

Burnley lost their pre-season 100% record against League 2 Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium on Tuesday might going down 2-0 and quite frankly never really turning up! They will be hoping to get back on track on Saturday when they will be in sunny Devon to play Torquay at Plainmoor. At the time of writing, there had still not be any new signings by Eddie Howe so only Ben Mee has so far arrived at the club in the summer. We already know the 23 players from the squad that are available for selection on the tour and we can probably expect similar line-ups and tactics as in midweek although hopefully this time we won`t be so lacklustre.

What do we know about Torquay then? Well the League 2 club narrowly missed out on promotion last season. After defeating Shrewsbury Town 2-0 on aggregate in the League 2 Play-Offs Semi-Final they lost 1-0 to Stevenage in the final at Old Trafford. The disappointment was enough for manager Paul Buckle to resign the day after the final and join Tuesday night`s opponents, Bristol Rovers as their new gaffer. The club are currently managed by Martin Ling. They have had a good pre-season so far beating local non-league club, Tiverton away 2-1 and following that up with two home wins against Bristol City (2-0) and local rivals, Exeter City (3-0)

Torquay United Team News:

There is currently no team news available but there does not appear to be any injury concerns for the Gulls gaffer.

Player to watch: Rene Howe

Howe certainly is the stereotype journeyman but the 24 year old striker has been brought in to replace Chris Zebroski who followed Buckle to Bristol Rovers in the summer. The Bedford-born forward started his career with his hometown club before joining Kettering Town. A move to Peterborough followed in May 2007 when he joined Posh for an undisclosed fee. He spent most of his time at London Road out on loan including spells at Rochdale, Morecambe, Lincoln City, Gillingham, Rushden & Diamonds and finally Bristol Rovers before being released by Posh this summer. He joined Torquay this month after agreeing a two year contract.

Burnley Team News:

Well with no new signings to talk about and conversely no more departures, we know that Howe will have the same 23 players named for the tour available to him.

The squad chosen for the South West Tour just to remind you was as follows:

Brian Jensen, Lee Grant, Jon Stewart (trialist keeper), Michael Duff, Tyrone Mears, Brian Easton, Andre Bikey, Danny Fox, David Edgar, Ben Mee, Kevin Long; Wade Elliott, Chris McCann, Chris Eagles, Dean Marney, Ross Wallace, Marvin Bartley, Steven Hewitt, Martin Paterson, Jay Rodriguez, Charlie Austin, Wes Fletcher, Alex MacDonald.

There is to date no news of any injury concerns so we can assume Howe will select a starting eleven from the squad of 23 and have the rest available on the bench. His starting eleven will be anybody`s guess and it will be interesting to see whether he selects similar line-ups, and formations that failed so dismally against ‘The Gas`

Player to watch: Chris Eagles

Could and should be a handful for the Gulls on Saturday. Hopefully the speculation in midweek that both Premier League new boys, QPR and Swansea were after his signature will not affect his performance as he prepares himself for another season at Turf Moor before his contract expires next summer. Eagles surely is crucial to our own promotion hopes and providing he can play with consistency, we need a player of his quality. On his day he is unplayable and we just need to ensure he has many days like that playing for the Clarets.

Last Time We Met

Burnley and Torquay are normally playing their games at the opposite ends of the Football League and rarely seem to have met over the years. Since their formation in 1899, the Gulls have only played the Clarets on 15 occasions. Burnley have won seven of those games and drawn three.

The last time we played them was in the 1990-91 season in the fourth tier of the Football League. That season we actually played them four times and lost out to them in the play-offs. The Gulls took four points off Burnley in the league, involving a 2-0 win at Plainmoor and a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor, before the two clubs met again in the Play-Off Semi-Final.

Burnley had finished in sixth spot that season just two points away from an automatic promotion place with Torquay just behind them in 7th but seven points adrift of the Clarets so now the play-offs beckoned for both clubs.

In the first leg at Plainmoor, Torquay`s Dean Edwards and Matt Elliott gave United a 2-0 lead. Only 700 tickets had been available for the away support so many Clarets had to make do with watching a large screen erected for the purpose at Turf Moor. In the second leg at Turf Moor, Burnley could just not make the pressure count and the frustration of the 14,000 crowd turned to rage when a small plane, hired by Blackburn Rovers fans flew over the ground pulling a banner which read ‘Staying Down – Ha Ha Ha!’ The Clarets did manage to pull a goal back thanks to a last minute own goal but it was not to be. Torquay went on to Wembley and gained promotion after beating Blackpool on penalties following a 2-2 draw after added time. The punishment for Burnley manager, Frank Casper was swift and he was given an ultimatum by the Board that he had just one more year to get them promoted after six years in the bottom tier. In fact Burnley did get promoted as Champions in 1991-92 but Casper had long since departed and it would be Jimmy Mullen who would take all the glory after taking over from Casper with just seven games of the season played.

Match Prediction:

Well of course everybody tells you, the results of friendlies don`t matter but then if you are a fan watching one of them you still want your team to play well whether you win, lose or draw. We singularly failed to do so against Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night so let`s hope whatever the score against Torquay we can say that the Clarets looked impressive and on course for a good start to the season proper. 3-1 Clarets!!

Next Pre-Season Friendly

The Clarets next pre-season friendly will be back in the North West of England when they travel to Boundary Park on the night of Tuesday 26th July for a game against Oldham (kick-Off: 7:45pm)