Owen Coyle is expected to name an unchanged team as his Burnley team go to their hated local rivals Blackburn Rovers looking for their first goal and point on the road this season after four straight defeats away from home.

Brian Jensen will make his 250th start for the Clarets, an astonishing statistic considering how often he has appeared to be on the brink of leaving the club.

Andre Bikey will continue in midfield and could be tasked with keeping Rovers playmaker David Dunn – their top scorer with three league goals – quiet.

It will be an attacking 4-5-1 for Burnley with Steven Fletcher and Robbie Blake supporting David Nugent from the bench.

Coyle is without Fernando Guerrero, Jay Rodriguez and Kevin McDonald as well as long-term absentees Chris McCann and Martin Paterson who both have serious knee injuries.

Rovers manager Sam Allardyce will have to pick his midfield without Australian enforcer Vince Grella, who injured his thigh on international duty but Benni McCarthy, Ryan Nelsen, Paul Robinson and Christopher Samba are all available after knocks.

The hosts will be glad to welcome back Nelson and Samba at the heart of a strong looking Rovers back line after they were given a footballing lesson by a rampant Arsenal side last time out, but up front they are short of options.

Benni McCarthy and Jason Roberts formed a dangerous partnership last season but haven’t played together much this season, and expensive signing Nikola Kalinic looks like being a flop to match Corrado Grabbi. The other forward choice for Rovers is Franco di Santo, who failed to make an impact against the Clarets for Chelsea in the Carling Cup last season before limping off.

Reported summer Burnley target Lars Jacobsen continues to keep former Real Madrid full-back Michel Salgado out of the eleven, while giant midfielder Steven Nzonzi will keep his place in midfield. Morten Gamst Pedersen, scorer of the winning goal the last time the sides met, will have to settle for a place on the bench with Rovers expected to play a narrow 4-4-2 formation and work the ball quickly and directly up to their front men.

However, Allardyce could choose to match Coyle man for man and copy his formation in an attempt to stifle the Clarets’ attacking threat.

Burnley’s home and away form could not be more in contrast in their first ever Premier League season, with four home wins and four away defeats in their opening eight games.

But as soon as the fixtures came out, the Clarets would have targeted the trip to Ewood Park as their first realistic chance of an away win, and nobody will be complaining at Burnley’s haul of twelve points so far.

The Clarets sit loftily in 9th place, five points above their rivals, who only climbed out of the drop zone thanks to Dunn’s late winner in their last home game against a below-par Aston Villa side. Whatever happens on Sunday afternoon, Burnley will be above Rovers in the table.

A tight game is expected, with the team who stops their tempers from fraying likely to come out on top. A defensive mistake could well decide the match. But I’m tipping a draw, with the sides cancelling each other out.

Prediction: 1-1.

This article was written for FansOnline Burnley.

Advertisements