Friday for me, ahead of a game, is usually getting everything prepared on Clarets Mad, but yesterday was somewhat different as I was allowed into the inner sanctum of Gawthorpe as the final training session and preparations were in progress ahead of today's game.
|Joseph Mills, set to face brother Matt|
I was invited by co-chairman John B and manager Eddie Howe and watched the training before getting a guided tour of the new facilities from the manager.
Some players were receiving treatment, some getting massages and Sam Vokes, despite protesting his innocence, was responsible for the dreadful noise that apparently was supposed to be music.
I was able to ask Howe what the team was. I am also at liberty to give you his response. He initially smiled, then produced a poker face and said he couldn't tell me. He did give me a couple of hints though. He, and his staff, had certainly done their homework on Bolton and looked very prepared.
As for the players, everyone trained with the exception of Keith Treacy who was working with the physios but he is edging very close to fitness. Marvin Bartley was training having been cleared last week following his ankle problem.
Just before I departed, the players, who were enjoying lunch, were treated to a rousing speech from John B who himself will be presented to the crowd ahead of this afternoon's game. He'll be down on the touchline ahead of kick off along with Olympic medal winners Steven Burke, Samantha Murray and Jon Schofield, British record holder Sophie Hitchon and Clarets Mad Youth Foundation who will presenting a cheque for £10,000 to the club.
Back at Gawthorpe, one player I got the chance to speak to was Joseph Mills who will be up against his brother Matt today for the third time. They've both had a win against each other, Joseph for Southampton against Doncaster and Matt for Reading against Doncaster.
Speaking to the media earlier, Joseph said: "Once Saturday comes the family affair gets put to the side and it's game day. That's most important and you have to put your head right for the game and go out and do the business.
"We are both making our league debuts (for new clubs) and we are both very much up for it. Three points are the most important and family kind of gets put to the back of your mind and you have to go out there and do what you have to."
What will the team be today? Both Martin Paterson and Sam Vokes are back in contention and will certainly add to the attacking options. George Porter missed Tuesdays' win at Port Vale with an ankle injury. He's fit although I suspect he won't be close to the starting eleven.
We started at Port Vale: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, David Edgar, Jason Shackell, Joseph Mills, Brian Stock, Dean Marney, Chris McCann, Ross Wallace, Charlie Austin, Junior Stanislas.
Today's team will be different, but I don't expect it will be far removed from that team which gave us a winning start to the season.
Our opponents Bolton Wanderers will have two former Clarets in their line up. Chris Eagles and Tyrone Mears left us last summer to play Premier League football, something that lasted just a year for Eagles while for Mears it was a difficult season because of injury and he played just one game.
Both should play today. Manager Owen Coyle predicted it in his bingo session this week when he intimated that he might go toe-to -toe as they try to reach the standards they've previously set.
Besides Mills, their new signings include Keith Andrews from West Brom and goalkeeper Andy Lonergan from Leeds. Andrews is likely to play but Lonergan won't dislodge Adam Bogdan in goal.
David Ngog is the only doubt for Bolton but they are so keen for him to play that he'll be given until the last minute to prove his fitness. He's been in and out during the pre-season with a back problem.
Their last pre-season friendly came last week when they drew 2-2 against Barcelona B with Clarets' boss Eddie Howe in the crowd.
Their team was: Adam Bogdan, Tyrone Mears (Joe Riley), Matt Mills, Chris Eagles (Lee Chung-Yong), Keith Andrews (Darren Pratley), Martin Petrov (Gregg Wylde), Zat Knight (Tim Ream), Kevin Davies (Afobe), Mark Davies (Joshua Vela), Sam Ricketts (Marcos Alonso), Marvin Sordell (Michael O'Halloran). Subs not used: Andy Lonergan, Jay Lynch.
Last Time They Were Here
We have to go back to 2000 for Bolton's last Football League visit to Turf Moor. We'd made a good start after promotion the previous season but had just hit our first bad patch and this was the third in a run of five successive defeats.
We lost the game 2-0 with both Bolton goals coming in the second half from substitute Michael Ricketts, the first within seconds of him coming on.
The teams were;
Burnley: Nik Michopoulos, Paul Weller (Glen Little 57), Ian Cox, Steve Davis, Mitchell Thomas, Paul Smith, John Mullin, Kevin Ball, Micky Mellon (Ronnie Jepson 69), Paul Cook (Lenny Johnrose 59), Graham Branch. Subs not used: Paul Crichton, Brad Maylett.
Bolton: Jussi Jaaskelainen, John O'Kane, Gudni Bergsson, Rob Elliott, Colin Hendry, Gareth Farrelly, Kevin Nolan, Franck Passi, Ricardo Gardner, Dean Holdsworth (Michael Ricketts 53), Bo Hansen (Carsten Fredgaard 89). Subs not used: Steve Banks, Simon Charlton, Ian Marshall.
Previous Games against Bolton Wanderers
|Last 20 Years|
|1994/95||Division 1||h||2-2||16,687||Davis, Deary|
Click HERE to see all previous results against Bolton Wanderers