The Clarets will be hoping to get their season back on track against Barnsley at Oakwell tonight following the dismal home defeat to Reading on Saturday.
Burnley play the first of three consecutive away games tonight(Tuesday 18th October) when they travel to Oakwell to play Barnsley.
Their recent run of good form came to a stuttering halt on Saturday at home to Reading after going down to a late goal in added time and losing 1-0. It was more the performance though rather than the result. It was simply shocking with the whole team (except for Marvin Bartley) failing to raise their game which was so disappointing after the momentum we had built up before the international break.
Our first defeat in four games saw the Clarets drop a couple of places to 16th in the table. We now have 12 points from 10 games and although we have a game in hand over most clubs it is rather ominous that we are only four points off the drop zone with two tricky league away games to follow against Barnsley tonight followed by Coventry at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday. It would be nice to pick up some points on the road before we travel to Cardiff next Tuesday night to play the Bluebirds in the Carling Cup 4th round clash. The ‘glass half-full` types will however also point out the fact that we are only six points off the play-offs places with a game in hand. There is still all to play for but the situation is clear. If we wish to retain any chance of promotion this season, we will simply have to start picking up points on the road against teams struggling at the wrong end of the table. Both Barnsley (18th) and Coventry (19th) are currently below the Clarets in the league table and it is vital we keep it that way and try and get some points against these inconsistent sides.
Barnsley actually have the same number of points as the Clarets but we have a one-game advantage over them and currently have a two goal advantage in terms of goal difference. The Tykes home form has been inconsistent but they will be chasing a second home league victory of the season, and a second in succession against the Clarets having beaten Coventry 2-0 at the start of this month. Until they lost against Pompey at Fratton Park last Saturday they had been undefeated in seven league games although that did involve five draws.
Barnsley Team News:
There are number of injury concerns for Tykes manager, Keith Hill. Hill told reporters this week:
‘We really are down to the bare bones and it’s probably a worse situation than we were in a week ago.’
Hill is already without midfielders David Perkins, Matt Done (both hamstring), Reuben Noble-Lazarus (ankle) and Goran Lovre (knee).Striker Danny Haynes (hamstring) and defender Luke Potter (knee) are also still sidelined and the selection headaches were made worse following Barnsley`s defeat away to Portsmouth last Saturday after Hill lost two more players to injury. Defenders Bobby Hassell and Jay McEveley have also now both been ruled out of the home game with Burnley. Hassell has had a recurrence of a groin injury and former Burnley loan, McEveley limped off against Pompey.
There is some good news though for the Tykes gaffer. Defender Rob Edwards is expected to play some part following a long lay-off with a hamstring problem and striker Craig Davies having recovered from a groin problem might see more action following his late substitute appearance in Saturday`s game at Pompey.
Player to watch: Jacob Butterfield
The 21 year old midfielder, who can also play in defence came through Barnsley`s youth system and made his first team debut in a 2-0 Carling Cup defeat against Newcastle United in August 2007 after coming on as a substitute.
He captained the Tykes in their 1-1 draw at home to Watford last month to become the youngest ever skipper in Barnsley’s history.
Butterfield has also scored a few goals in his time and last season picked up the club`s goal of the season award following a wonder-strike against Bristol City. He is currently the Tykes top scorer along with former Burnley striker, Andy Gray with both players having scored three league goals so far this season. There is no doubt he will be a danger against the Clarets. A creative midfielder with the eye for a killer pass and a goal-scorer to boot is all we need!
Burnley Team News:
Strikers, Martin Paterson (thigh) and Michael Duff (knee) are still on the path to recovery but both have returned to light training.
Danny Ings (torn cartilage) and Brian Jensen (groin) remain sidelined but there are no further injuries or suspensions for Howe to worry about following the defeat at home to Reading last Saturday.
Player to watch: Junior Stanislas
Stanislas looked off the pace against Reading on Saturday and it was no surprise to see him substituted by Treacy in the 55th minute. Treacy though was not much better and to be honest worryingly looked to be overweight and sluggish. Stanislas would therefore still appear to be the better bet and if he starts against Barnsley he will have an ideal opportunity to make amends and begin to impress. Since arriving from West Ham, the 21 year old winger has blown hot and cold to be honest and it would be nice to see him challenge for a man of the match award and begin to have a significant influence on the game. We have not seen the best from Stanislas in my opinion and it is now time we did!
Team & Tactics:
Team selection could be a bit of a dilemma for Howe. We were simply woeful at home to Reading and yet exactly the same team and sixteen were on duty in the previous three games and looked impressive collecting seven points from a maximum of nine available. So will Howe keep the faith and put out the same sixteen for the fifth game running or will he wring the changes?
If precedent is anything to go by he will keep the faith so expect the same sixteen to be given a chance to right their wrong and put Saturday`s shocker behind them.
The predicted line-up then will be as follows:
Grant, Trippier, Edgar, Amougou, Easton, Stanislas, McCann, Bartley, Wallace, Austin, Rodriguez
Subs: Stewart, Mee, Marney, Hines, Treacy
Premier League referee, Lee Mason will be the man-in-the-middle for this one. Strangely for a Wars of the Roses clash, Mason hails from the Red Rose County although having been born in Bolton he might be more tempted to be a ‘homer`! Mason has been in charge for just six games so far this season and has yet to send anybody off although his yellow card tally stands at 28 (nearly 5 per game!)
You have to go back to our brief sojourn in the Premier League for the last time Mason refereed a game involving the Clarets. It was our 3-1 home defeat to Wigan back in October 2009 but at least that day only two yellow cards were shown.
This will not be an easy place to go to and get points but at least we laid the Oakwell jinx to rest last season after winning there on Boxing Day; our first victory against the Tykes on their home soil since 1932. Their home form to be honest has been indifferent with just one win and two draws from their five league games this season. It really would put our season back on track after the Reading shocker if we could come away with all three points and it would certainly lift confidence ahead of the Coventry clash on Saturday. I think we can shade this one 2-1.
The second of our three-match consecutive away sequence continues this Saturday 22nd October with a trip to the Ricoh Arena to play Coventry City (Kick-Off 3pm)