It all starts at Alty again
Feature by Tony Scholes
Updated Saturday, 21st July 2012
Last year Burnley played their first pre-season friendly against Altrincham at Moss Lane. After a game at Accrington last Wednesday was called off it has left us with the same kick off this year with an Altrincham and Bury double to kick things off.
|Burnley fans gathering ahead of kick off a year ago|
For Altrincham it's the second of four home friendlies and the second of two against Football League opposition with Lee Sinnott's side having played Morecambe last Tuesday. They drew that game 0-0 with 19 year-old full back trialist Scott Leather impressing after coming on as a substitute. He was released by Preston at the end of last season and later this week he became Altrincham's sixth summer signing.
Sinnott is looking to improve on last season's eighth place finish in the Blue Square North and had already snapped up strikers Ryan Brooke and Danny Mitchley, formerly of Blackpool, midfielder Carl Rodgers and defenders Gianluca Havern and Danny Hall who were both part of Hyde's promotion winning team last season.
Against a strong Morecambe side, Altrincham did well and never looked threatened defensively. That will please the manager who highlighted their goals against column last season as something to be improved on.
They scored a very impressive 90 league goals last season which was equalled by champions Hyde but bettered nowhere. However, they were almost 'Thrown One In' at times and conceded 71 goals.
Today, they are expected to field a similar team to that which played Morecambe. They lined up on Tuesday as follows:
Stuart Coburn, Shaun Densmore, Gianluca Havern, Danny Hall, Nicky Clee, Duncan Watmore, Carl Rodgers, Scott Phelan, James Lawrie, Danny Mitchley, Ryan Brooke. Subs: Matt Doughty, Simon Richman, Scott Leather, Greg Pearson, Sam Grimshaw, Adam Reid, John McCarten, Adam Mather.
|George Porter is one of the new signings on view|
Eddie Howe will be taking just about his full first team squad and is very likely to do the same as last year by giving players half a game each in this first warm up fixture. That means supporters will get a first chance to see the four new signings so far, Luke O'Neill, George Porter, Jason Shackell and Joseph Mills.
One player who won't be on view is Marvin Bartley who has been struggling with an ankle injury since returning for pre-season training two weeks ago.
Even without this news, Howe was looking to strengthen the area, and, after confirming Bartley's injury, said: "We have a slight concern over Marvin Bartley who's had a problem with his ankle for a while and has been to see a couple of specialists and told to rest for a few weeks.
"He'll be out for a period, hopefully not too long. It's nothing serious."
Howe added: "It leaves us with just Dean Marney and Chris McCann as recognised first team midfielders. It's an area we know we needed to look at and add numbers to."
That addition is, according to so much speculation, likely to be his former Bournemouth team mate Brian Stock. The 30-year-old was in Doncaster's relegated squad last season. He is currently still with them but a move for him is likely. Whether it will be to Turf Moor or potentially to Nottingham Forest should become clearer in the next few days.
So, with Bartley out, Howe is likely to add potentially Steven Hewitt or Archie Love to his squad today to ensure no outfield player has to play beyond 45 minutes.
They'll be added to the following squad:
Lee Grant, Brian Jensen, Jon Stewart, Kieran Trippier, Luke O'Neill, Danny Lafferty, Joseph Mills, Michael Duff, David Edgar, Ben Mee, Jason Shackell, Kevin Long, Dean Marney, Chris McCann, Junior Stanislas, Ross Wallace, Keith Treacy, George Porter, Charlie Austin, Martin Paterson, Danny Ings, Alex MacDonald.
It's certainly interesting looking back at the game a year ago when Howe, as is expected today, used 22 players. An incredible ten of those players are no longer with the club and six of them had gone by the end of last summer's transfer window.
We led 3-0 at half time with goals from Alex MacDonald, Chris Eagles and Martin Paterson but Altrincham came back early in the second half with two quick goals before Chris Iwelumo completed a 4-2 win, heading home Wade Elliott's cross.
The teams a year ago were;
Altrincham: Stuart Coburn, Chris Lynch (Brian Summerskill 45), Mark Lees, Adam Flynn (Anthony Danylyk 45), Ryan Brown, Simon Richman, Robbie Lawton, Shaun Densmore, Nicky Clee (Paul Jones 45), Nick Chadwick (Kevin Gall 61), Damian Reeves (Michael Jukes 45). Subs not used: James Coates, Steve Hall, Matt Fearon, Jake Barnabas, Sam Langford.
Burnley (first half): Lee Grant, Tyrone Mears, Michael Duff, Andre Bikey, Brian Easton, Alex-Ray Harvey, Chris McCann, Ross Wallace, Alex MacDonald, Chris Eagles, Martin Paterson
Burnley (second half): Brian Jensen, Kevin Long, Leon Cort, David Edgar, Danny Fox, Marvin Bartley, Dean Marney, Wade Elliott, Wes Fletcher, Jay Rodriguez, Chris Iwelumo.
Subs not used: Dominic Knowles, Mehdi Lazaar, Joe McKee.