Date: 24th February 2007 at 8:12am
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The Clarets travel to Colchester hoping to win their first match in 14 games. Layer Road is a fairly small, compact and intimidating place and it is no surprise that the U’s have a good home record there this season despite this being their first season since promotion.

The U’s lost their first two home games of the season but then had eleven successive home victories. However their current home form has not been as impressive winning only one of their last four home games.

Colchester, have however had a generally good season all round but then there always does seem to be one club that does well from the three promoted only to struggle in subsequent seasons as reality sets in.

The U’s are currently placed 10th on 51 points although maybe their halo has slipped a bit recently with two successive defeats against Plymouth away in their last match and WBA at home. The Clarets now 16th with only 39 points, will be hoping to capitalise on the current U’s form and end this awful run which now has all Clarets fans looking over their shoulders at the relegation places. It is not comfortable being only seven points clear of the drop zone. It is difficult to find any crumbs of comfort when you are on such a bad run of form but if you look at our last two matches away to Wolves and this week’s night match at home to Leicester there has been significant signs of improvement despite two defeats. We have to hope we can continue that improvement and hope that Andy Gray and Ade Akinbiyi in particular can find their form and goal-scoring touch.

Steve Cotterill Says:

‘It is good to have matches when you are not winning. We haven’t had a run of games for a while, so at the moment it’s better to have the games. The squad is fuller so if there is some fatigue or loss of form, we can change that at the moment. We haven’t been able to do that in the past,’

‘They are playing their way out of it and they are determined. That’s the only way in and amongst all the things that go on around you, like the negativity and criticism sometimes.’

He goes on to say about Colchester

‘I don’t know whether it does surprise you when teams come up and they have done well in seasons before in back-to-back promotions,’

‘I had the same myself at Cheltenham, when you keep the same side together that have come up through the leagues and had success.

‘I think that you can go on and do that and good luck to them. They have been excellent this season, but next season will be more of a tougher task for them.

‘They have been first-class. Geraint has done a good job, more than ably assisted by Mick Harford, who I know very well. I’m pleased for them but I don’t want to be that pleased for them on Saturday!

‘They have had a good few results there at Layer Road. We know it will be a tough game, but if we play like we did the other night, get the rub of the green and it drops to one of our strikers and they take their chance, then we can build on that.’

Colchester Team News:

Midfielder Kemal Izzet is now available after he sat out their last match on Tuesday night Plymouth through suspension.

Player to watch: Chris Iwelumo

Scored 15 goals so far this season and looks a bit of an handful

Burnley Team News:

Clarets midfielder Alan Mahon looks likely to miss out with a groin strain.

Cotterill is likely to persevere with a similar team and bench that played so much better against Leicester without any reward. Steve Caldwell is now also of course our new Official team captain and Thomas, relieved of his duties is also likely to be in the back four after his impressive performance last Tuesday night.

The following could be the line-up

Coyne, Harley, Thomas, McGreal, Caldwell, Elliott, Gudjonsson, McCann, J O’Connor, Gray, Akinbiyi.

Subs: Djemba-Djemba, Duff or Foster, Lafferty, G O’Connor, Jones

Player to watch: Andy Gray

Can Andy Gray finally step up a gear and return to the goal-scoring form before his injury?

Last Time We Met!

Colchester inflicted a home defeat on the Clarets back in September coming away with a 2-1 victory, despite a Clarets goal that day from Andy Gray

Ref Watch:

Carl Boyeson (East Yorkshire)

Match Prediction:

Well the easiest prediction for a neutral based on form would be a Colchester win but I just have a feeling we are going to turn a corner today and come away with a surprise win!- 2-1 Clarets

Next Match:

Crystal Palace at Turf Moor 3rd March 2007 @ 3pm KO