It is Carling Cup third round night on Tuesday and Burnley have a juicy home derby game against Owen Coyle`s Bolton Wanderers at Turf Moor (Kick-Off 7:45pm). It certainly threatens to be an atmospheric night both on and off the pitch. Relations between the two clubs are understood to be at an all time low with the Clarets still seeking proper compensation for the loss of Coyle and all our backroom staff back in January this year and Bolton holding out for less. Clarets fans too are likely to give Coyle a frosty reception as he returns to Turf Moor for the first time since leaving us in the lurch in the New Year. Nothing would please Clarets fans more than to convincingly beat Bolton and progress to the fourth round. It might also go some way to at long last getting closure on the Judas saga but anything less than a win could ensure that the wounds take far longer to heal.
The Clarets had a bye in the first round of the competition before beating Morecambe 3-1 at the Globe Arena in the second round clash. Burnley go into the third round game, having just played their best football of the season so far at Crystal Palace on Saturday. For a period in the second half we were simply sublime and played some delightful football, passing the ball well and having many attempts on goal. They may have only managed a 0-0 draw in the end but they dominated proceedings and had by far the greater possession. This will hopefully give them the confidence to face up to Bolton and we certainly can`t afford to approach this match in the way we have in recent derbies. The passionless lacklustre performance at home to Blackburn last season better not be repeated against Bolton. Although we won 4-3 eventually against Preston at home recently, we were truly awful for the first 80 minutes and at 3-1 down we were heading for an embarrassing defeat before they were reduced to ten men and we managed to score three goals in the last six minutes. We have to show true passion and determination this Tuesday night; too much is at stake for yet another unimpressive performance against local opposition.
Bolton beat Southampton 1-0 at St Marys in the second round of the competition and this was their only second clean sheet in 11 rounds of the Carling Cup. In the Premier League this season, Bolton got off to a reasonable start but have fallen back recently to 13th spot with just six points from five games. They had a creditable draw 1-1 away to Aston Villa in their last game and of course former Clarets legend, Robbie Blake came to their rescue recently in a home game against Birmingham. 2-0 down and reduced to ten men, Bolton clawed their way back with Blake scoring from a free kick in the 81st minute to level the scores and earn the Trotters a point. Bolton though were brought down to earth with a bump in between these games after being thumped 4-1 away to Arsenal.
Burnley Team News:
Ross Wallace suffered a minor hamstring injury on Saturday but has been declared fit to play. Only Chris McCann is unavailable. He is a long-term casualty of course and is still recovering from surgery to correct his cruciate ligament injury. He is not expected to return until the New Year.
Brian Laws has no further injury concerns or suspensions to worry about. He could be tempted therefore to name an unchanged line-up for the Bolton clash
Player to watch: Chris Iwelumo
Iwelumo has been strangely subdued in the last couple of games but he is still our top scorer and will be hoping to get back his scoring form on Tuesday night. Iwelumo could be a handful for Bolton`s defence and unlike most of the rest of our team could be an unknown entity as far as Coyle is concerned.
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
Bolton boss Owen Coyle says he will continue his policy of using fringe players in the Carling Cup. Is he playing mind games or is he hoping if we beat them he can save some face by saying he only put out a reserve side?
Midfielder, Tamir Cohen is available after missing the game at Aston Villa to observe the Yom Kippur Jewish holy day and Rodrigo Moreno could be set to make his debut. The 19 year old striker is on a season-long loan from Benfica having signed for Bolton in August.
Marcos Alonso, Mark Davies and Matthew Taylor also look set to play along with former Clarets star, Robbie Blake.
One player we won`t see is former Clarets on-loan defender, Gary Cahill. He was sent off in the Arsenal game and despite Bolton appealing; they lost so as a result, Cahill’s three-match suspension will remain.
Kevin Davies and number one keeper, Jussi Jaaskelainen are also suspended, while Andy O’Brien, Joey O’Brien, Ricardo Gardner, Jlloyd Samuel and Sean Davis have all been nursing injuries.
Player to watch: Robbie Blake
I have a strong feeling we will see Robbie Blake play at some point in this match and Coyle has hinted that he will play. Not sure he will get a starting eleven place but he could come on from the bench. It will be difficult for many Clarets fans to stomach seeing Blake in a Bolton shirt and our defence will have to avoid giving away too many free kicks if he does get on. Blake has already told the local media that he wouldn`t like to score against his former club stating also that:
“I wouldn`t celebrate. I hold the fans and the club in too high a regard to do that. I`ve had too many good times there”
That`s all well and good Robbie so if you don`t want to score against us, I suggest you have a word with SuBo to make sure you don`t get chance. That would keep Clarets fans very happy.
Team & Tactics
With no fresh injuries or suspensions to worry about, it would make sense to show loyalty to the team that did so well on Saturday against Crystal Palace. Brian Laws though might be tempted to reinstate his captain into the holding midfield role but I hope he resists the temptation. We played so much better without Grezza on Saturday even though I hate to have to say it. Would Alexander also have the necessary pace against Premier League opposition?
We are going to need more defensive options against Bolton though but Jack Cork coped admirably in the holding midfield role on Saturday at Selhurst Park and he has youth and pace on his side. Cork could also be a handful since he is not one of Coyle`s signings for Burnley arriving after he left. Cork`s strengths and weaknesses will therefore not be intimately known by the Bolton, former Burnley management which could be to our advantage.
I guess we will play 4-1-4-1 again with Iwelumo alone up front but I hope we have the option to revert to 4-4-2 if we need to score and I would love to see an Iwelumo/Paterson partnership as a strike pairing but I think I am whistling in the wind on that one.
So as you were for me:
Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Bikey, Fox, Cork, Eagles, Elliott, Marney, Wallace, Iwelumo
Subs: Grant, Cort, Duff, Alexander, Paterson, Thompson, Rodriguez
Newcastle-upon-Tyne Premier League and FIFA referee, Mark Clattenburg is in charge of this one.
This is one of those ‘heart over head` predictions. Bolton should in theory be too strong for the Clarets despite it being so annoying having to say that. But we have a good track record against Premier League sides in this competition over the years especially at home and we need to find that inner resolve and determination to win even more than we have done so before in this situation. A win against Coyle & his mob would be just the tonic we need and it would certainly help Brian Laws` attempts to convince more Clarets fans he is the right man for the job.
I will go for a tight and nervy 2-1 Clarets win.
The Clarets return to Championship action on Saturday 25th September with a match at home against lowly Bristol City (3pm Kick-Off)