Easter Monday at the Keepmoat
Feature by Tony Scholes
Updated Monday, 9th April 2012
Burnley complete the Easter fixtures with an Easter Monday trip into South Yorkshire to face bottom of the league Doncaster Rovers.
We go into the game looking for a tenth away win of the season in the league and that's something we haven't achieved for ten years, that in the season when we missed out on the play offs by one goal.
It will be our third visit to the Keepmoat and we've come back from the previous two with nothing and so the search is also on for our first ever points there.
|Charlie Austin is in a good vein of form|
There's nothing but pride to play for now. We are hardly likely to reach the top six even if we win the remaining games of the season and it is now mathematically impossible for us to drop into the bottom three with a 17 point lead over Coventry City.
Eddie Howe has said he wants to end the season on a high, something I'm certain all Burnley fans would agree with, and it's very much the same from striker Charlie Austin who has returned to form in the last week with four goals in three games.
Austin made his Burnley debut in this fixture last season and, recalling it, he said: "Things didn't go so well that night but I have moved on leaps and bounds from there and hopefully we can get another win.
"When I went there first it was a big step-up for me but now I am fully fit and raring to go and hopefully I can get another goal.
"I am in a good vein of form and hopefully I can push on and get a few more goals before the end of the season. I might not be the quickest of strikers who glides past people like Jay, or as quick as Pato, but when the ball comes in the box I fancy myself every time."
He added: "I think we play better against the top sides in the league and I think we should really be up there, but if we can get another win on Monday, who knows what can happen in the last few games and hopefully we can push up and get into the top half."
Burnley can certainly get into the top half with a positive result. We are currently in 14th place, a climb of two places over the weekend, but with one more win we'd be in tenth place and looking very confident of a top half finish at least.
For today's game, Howe will have to get the abacus out to count his players such is the current situation at Turf Moor. I don't think he could have envisaged this when he let three players go out on loan a couple of weeks ago without bringing anyone in.
Of the players still with us, we have Ben Mee, Jay Rodriguez and Martin Paterson ruled out. Danny Lafferty doesn't look ready to return and there is a very good chance that Marvin Bartley won't make it after coming off during the first half on Friday with a hamstring injury.
Kieran Trippier also looked to be struggling at the end and Austin himself was withdrawn after taking a punch in the kidneys from the appalling Adam El-Abd.
It will certainly be the case that we have to dip into Terry Pashley's youth team again but I'd think the starting line up, should Trippier and Austin both make it, will be that which played the majority of the Brighton game.
We could line up: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, David Edgar, Ross Wallace, Josh McQuoid, Dean Marney, Chris McCann, Junior Stanislas, Charlie Austin, Danny Ings. Subs from: Brian Jensen, Aryn Williams, Luke Conlan, Steven Hewitt, Cameron Howieson, Shay McCartan, Wes Fletcher.
Burnley's last Easter Monday win came five years ago, and it was the same date as today the 9th of April. On that occasion we beat Cardiff City 2-0 at home with goals from Steve Jones and Paul McVeigh.
The last away win on Easter Monday was back in 2001 when Kevin Ball, Gareth Taylor and Ian Moore scored in a 3-2 win at Norwich.
Our Opponents - Doncaster Rovers
Our opponents Doncaster Rovers have had a strange sort of season. It's their fourth in the Championship following their play off promotion in 2008. They ended the first two seasons in 14th and 12th places, but last season avoided the drop by one place although they were six points clear of the bottom three.
This season started poorly and that led to the departure of long serving manager Sean O'Driscoll in September, replaced by Dean Saunders who came in from Wrexham. More importantly, it also saw the introduction of agent Willie McKay who became responsible for player recruitment.
The idea was to bring in bigger name players on short term contracts. That enabled McKay to get some of his clients in the shop window and also, according to him, gave Doncaster fans the opportunity to support these players short term.
They were next to bottom when Saunders and McKay arrived but within a couple of weeks they'd risen to the lofty perch of 19th after two wins in three games. Another couple of weeks saw them drop back into the bottom three and they haven't left it since.
Going into today's game they are on 32 points, eight points behind Bristol City (who are 21st) and have by far the worst goal difference. They've already admitted that they would probably need to win four of their last five games to stay up so basically we can all but guarantee we won't be playing a league game there next season.
For today's game they have injury problems. Strikers El Hadji Diouf and Frederic Piquionne both limped off with hamstring problems during their 4-0 defeat at Leicester and neither are expected to be fit.
Chris Brown, who has been limited to substitute appearances since himself returning from injury, is expected to start whilst Brian Stock, a player who will be well known to the Burnley management from his time at Bournemouth, could also play after coming back from injury himself as a substitute at Leicester.
The good news for Doncaster is that Herita Ilunga is available although this could be his last game with his contract set to come to an end this week. He only signed a one month deal.
Their team at Leicester was: Carl Ikeme, Pascal Chimbonda, Adam Lockwood, Habib Beye, Herita Ilunga, James Coppinger, Simon Gillett, John Oster, Giles Barnes, El Hadji Diouf, Frederic Piquionne. Subs: Kyle Bennett, George Friend, Fabien Robert, Brian Stock, Chris Brown.
Last Time We Were There
Last season's visit to Doncaster is one that really is best forgotten. It was Eddie Howe's third league game in charge of Burnley, with all three away. We'd won the previous league game at Portsmouth and followed that up with a win in the FA Cup against Burton Albion, but we never looked as though we might get a third win in this game and lost the game 1-0.
Charlie Austin came in for his debut at the expense of Steven Thompson in an otherwise unchanged team but he struggled playing as a lone striker with Wade Elliott and Jay Rodriguez employed as wingers.
|Michael Duff's own goal decided the result|
We were probably just about second best in the first half but there wasn't much to choose between two poor teams. We did have more defensive work to do with Lee Grant making a couple of good saves and Danny Fox, jeered by the Burnley fans as he struggled against James Coppinger, clearing one off the line.
The second half saw us as probably the better of two continuing poor sides but our forwards proved no better than theirs had done in the first half when it came to finding the net and in the end it took a defender to decide the match.
Doncaster got in a cross but with no forward anywhere near there appeared to be little danger until Michael Duff looped a header goalwards and right into the top corner.
That was it other than Martin Paterson coming on for Austin. Pato had come back from injury in the cup tie as a sub and scored but there was to be no positive repeat here. The initial injury had been sustained in the home game against Doncaster and he repeated it again, struggling on to the end but it was bringing his season to a close.
Overall it was probably the worst game of football we were involved in all season.
The teams were;
Doncaster: Gary Woods, James O'Connor, Sam Hird, George Friend, James Chambers, Paul Keegan, Brian Stock (Dennis Souza 84), John Oster (Dean Shiels 89), James Coppinger, Billy Sharp, James Hayter (Steve Brooker 45). Subs not used: Jordan Bradshaw, Byron Webster, Ryan Mason, Waide Fairhurst.
Burnley: Lee Grant, Tyrone Mears, Clarke Carlisle, Michael Duff, Danny Fox, Jack Cork, Dean Marney, Chris Eagles, Wade Elliott (Chris Iwelumo 65), Charlie Austin (Martin Paterson 71), Jay Rodriguez (Ross Wallace 75). Subs not used: Brian Jensen, Andre Bikey, Graham Alexander, Steven Thompson.
Previous Games against Doncaster Rovers
|Last 20 Years|
|1991/92||Division 4||a||4-1||2,940||Conroy(2 1pen), Harper, Yates|
|FA Cup||a||3-1||4,207||Harper(2), Eli|
|Division 4||h||2-1||9,605||Conroy, Eli|
|2011/12||Championship||h||3-0||16,756||Rodriguez(pen), Paterson, Hird(og)|
Click HERE to see all previous results against Doncaster Rovers