The Clarets take on Wolves at Turf Moor today hoping to secure their third double over a team this season after defeating Mick McCarthy`s men 3-2 at Molineux back in December 2007.
A win this Saturday could ensure we are finally in the Top 6 again, with our play-off hopes still very much alive. Currently in 8th place on 55 points, we have the same number of points as Plymouth in 7th and we are only one point behind Charlton in 5th and Hull in 6th position.
Wolves however will be no pushovers. Their form recently has left a lot to be desired especially at home but they also lost 2-1 away to a resurgent Preston in midweek after going ahead in the game. However they are still a play-offs contender themselves lying in 11th place on 51 points with a couple of games in hand over most of the other contenders including the Clarets.
It is crucial we get nothing less than a win to keep our play-offs chances alive. After this match we will have seven games left to play and apart from Crystal Palace away in the last match of the season, all the other six clubs are currently placed midtable or below (12th-19th). Three of the games will be at home against Barnsley, Sheffield United and Cardiff City and we need to ensure a maximum nine points from those matches and hope we can get as many points as possible on the road away to Preston, Norwich City, Southampton and Palace.
Chris McCann will be out due to his thigh injury. Ade Akinbiyi and Andrew Cole are both carrying knocks ahead of the weekend.
“Ade hadn’t trained in the early part of the week so he had no preparation behind him when he came off the bench the other night, so hopefully he’ll be better and able to train before the game.”
‘Andrew played for me with a calf strain, so we’ll look at that as well”
Joey Gudjonsson will also now be available for selection after serving a two-match ban following his second yellow and sending off in the recent defeat at Hull. Gudjonsson could be preferred to both Mahon and Randall and he does provide a more defensive, sweeping option in midfield.
Captain Steven Caldwell did not even make the sixteen for the last game at home to Charlton in midweek and it will be interesting to see if Coyle still prefers Varga in the back four.
The strike pairing selection will
also be a testing challenge for Coyle depending on the injury situation. We can probably expect a starting eleven with Blake partnering either Cole or Akinbiyi if they are both fit unless Blake starts on the bench again in order to make way for a Cole/Akinbiyi partnership with the hope that the two players can find the form and understanding they had in the match away to QPR back in February. If both Cole and Akinbiyi are ruled out then it looks like a Blake/Lafferty partnership up front giving Coyle a selection problem for the wide left role.
I suspect Coyle may well keep the same sixteen as those selected for the Charlton match although he might be tempted to bring back our captain into the back four and Gudjonsson into midfield
I would be tempted to choose the following for the Wolves match:
Kiraly, Alexander, Carlisle, Caldwell, Harley, Elliott, James O`Connor, Gudjonsson, Lafferty, Blake, Cole
Subs: Jensen, Varga (or Unsworth), Mahon, Randall (or Spicer), Akinbiyi
‘We’ve had an awful lot of games and it’s important that after working so hard that they rest up and make sure they’re ready to give our best against Wolves. At this stage of the season they’re not going to be any fitter than what they are just now, and given the number of games that we play in such a short space of time it’s important that they do get the chance to recover and rest up, otherwise there’s always a possibility that you over train and you’ve got nothing left.
‘It’s important that given the injuries we’ve picked up that we’ve got everybody 100 per cent and the object of the exercise is that come three o’clock on Saturday they are at their very best.’
Burnley Team News:
Gudjonsson returns from a two-match suspension but Chris McCann is still sidelined with a thigh strain. Michael Duff continues to make steady progress from his long-term cruciate ligament damage and scored in a reserve match this week but it is still too early for him to be considered for the first team. Some doubts remain concerning the fitness of both Ade Akinbiyi and Andrew Cole after both picked up knocks.
Player to watch: Wade Elliott
After his stunning goal against Charlton in midweek and his numerous Sponsors Man of the Match awards this season, all eyes will be on Elliott again.
Wolverhampton Wanderers Team News:
Midfielder David Edwards looks to be sidelined with a groin injury.
Stephen Ward, and keeper, Matt Murray both have long-term knee injuries whilst Michael Kightly remains out of action with an ankle injury.
Player to watch: Sylvan Ebanks-Blake
Scored a brace in the last Wolves home game against Southampton, a match that finished 2-2 .The former Plymouth striker could be the biggest threat to our back four
Last Time We Met
The last time we played Wolves was this season at Molinuex back in December, a game we won 3-2 in front of the Sky Cameras. Blake, Carlisle and Lafferty were the scorers.
We will be up for another double therefore in the return match.
Wolves last season however beat the Clarets 1-0 at Turf Moor back in August 2006 and then completed the double over us at Molineux by beating the lads 2-1 in February 2007. Time for revenge!
This simply has to be a win. 2-1 Clarets
It`s the big local derby against Preston at Deepdale next on Saturday 22nd March. Note also its a 1pm KO.