The win over Birmingham in our last game proved we can comfortably beat the other teams likely to be fighting relegation at home. Now we must show we can pick up results on the road this weekend at Ewood Park.

Rovers are a poor team. They lack a quality striker, and their defence is susceptible to skill, pace and trickery. But they’ll be organised, as all Allardyce teams are, and we need to match them tactically.

Losing our first four matches on the road has led some to suggest a change of shape may be required. Coyle responded by moving Andre Bikey into midfield against Birmingham and it worked wonders. The only worry is that we’ll miss his strength at the back if he continues in his new role.

Sunday’s game represents our best chance of away points so far. Rovers have flattered to deceive and were fortunate to beat Villa in their last home game, a result that got them out of the bottom three. David Dunn is the only player in their ranks with the ability to unlock Premier League defences. Chris Samba will be a danger from set pieces but if we mark him properly we should negate his threat.

We’ve moved on miles since the last time we met, a narrow win for Rovers in extra-time of round four of the FA Cup at Ewood Park a few years ago. And they’ve gone backwards. Pedersen was being talked up as a possible target for Manchester United around the time of that game, and now he’s been shown up for the one-trick pony he is. They are desperately light on options up front.

We must not get sucked in to the hype around this game though. First and foremost, this is a chance to put three more points on the board and arrest the worrying away form. Of course the bragging rights would be great, but we’ll still be above them in the league table whatever happens on Sunday afternoon. Owen Coyle must keep his players calm. Often it is the more disciplined team that comes out on top in derby games, and both teams have players that are prone to losing their temper.

Steven Fletcher is our key man. He’s finding his feet now, and looked a real threat against Birmingham. If we can get him on the ball deep in the Rovers half, he will cause them problems. But I have a feeling it will be a man from the bench that will decide the game. We’ll turn to Chris Eagles and they’ll look at Benni McCarthy to be their impact man. Whoever adapts to what is sure to be a fiery game quickest might make the difference.

I just hope there’s no trouble. The saying goes that if you treat people like animals, they will behave like them. Over-zealous policing is likely to make Clarets fans feel like cattle, but hopefully we will keep our heads on and off the field and secure a much-needed first away result of the season, and make the headlines for the right reasons.

This article was written for FansOnline Burnley.

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