On paper, this looks a difficult one for us. Something I hadn't realised, but read yesterday, is that we haven't won a game against any team in the top eleven of this league. The highest placed club in the current table we have beaten is Blackpool who are currently 12th.
Twice we've won away this season, at Derby and Bristol City, but those clubs are in 13th and 23rd places respectively, but, despite six defeats on the road, the record is not quite as bad as its painted with four of those defeats coming against teams currently in the top five.
Hull are the one missing member of that top group still to play. Above them are Crystal Palace, Cardiff and Middlesbrough whilst Leicester sit just below in fifth place. The other away defeats have come at Huddersfield and Ipswich, 8th and 22nd.
|Luke O'Neill could come in for his league debut|
We were outplayed at Cardiff, but we were in front in each of the other three away games against those top teams. We really should not have been beaten at either Middlesbrough or Leicester although, despite holding a 2-0 lead, we deserved nothing from the game at Crystal Palace.
The Burnley team for this game will not have the name Kieran Trippier in it. Tripps was sent off last week for handball, and it is still one he hotly disputes confirming that the ball hit his chest. It means he will miss his first league game since signing for Burnley in the summer of 2011. That's a run of 63 league games.
Right back has been one of the more stable positions in recent years having proved a difficult one to fill at times by both Steve Cotterill and Owen Coyle. With promotion to the Premier League we signed Tyrone Mears.
In two seasons Mears missed only two league games with David Edgar filling in for him in those games at Ipswich and at home to Preston, both early in the 2010/11 season.
I think the big question is who will come in for Trippier. There are, I would think, three candidates. It could again be Edgar who has missed out recently for a central defensive place with Michael Duff partnering Jason Shackell.
Sean Dyche moved Dean Marney to right back in last week's emergency. He did well and he might just land himself that position against his old club Hull, and the third choice is Luke O'Neill who played the full behind closed doors game against Rochdale during the week.
Dyche might be without Trippier, and he'll also be without Cameron Stewart who isn't eligible to play today against his parent club. However, he welcomes back both Ben Mee and Ross Wallace. Mee has missed the last two games because of an injury in the Leeds win and Wallace has completed a one match suspension having received five yellow cards.
I think both Mee and Wallace will return, and should he opt for O'Neill at right back we could line up: Lee Grant, Luke O'Neill, Michael Duff, Jason Shackell, Ben Mee, Brian Stock, Dean Marney, Chris McCann, Ross Wallace, Charlie Austin, Martin Paterson. Subs from: Brian Jensen, David Edgar, Danny Lafferty, Joseph Mills, Marvin Bartley, Junior Stanislas, Danny Ings, Sam Vokes.
Hull changed course in the summer after a fall out between the owners of the club and manager Nicky Barmby. He'd been appointed just before of our visit there a year ago and was very popular with the fans being an ex-player and also a supporter of the club.
They eventually turned to Steve Bruce, the former manager of Sheffield United, Huddersfield, Wigan, Crystal Palace, Birmingham, Wigan again and Sunderland. Bruce had been out of work since being replaced at Sunderland by Martin O'Neill in late 2011.
He's made significant changes to the squad. During the summer transfer window he made six permanent signings and added to that with two loan signings. During this month he's added to that with three more loan signings, bringing in Robbie Brady from Manchester United, David Meyler from Sunderland and on the deadline this week he captured Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale.
They had a below average start to the season and probably the turning point came when they suffered successive home defeats in three days at the hands of Peterborough and Blackpool. Those defeats came on the last Saturday in September and the following Tuesday, and they've certainly been on the up since.
Their record since those defeats is six wins and two defeats. Only three of those eight games have been at home and they've brought wins against Ipswich, Barnsley and Wolves. Away from home during this run they've won at Sheffield Wednesday, Bristol City and Birmingham. The only defeats have been against two of the three teams above them, Cardiff and Middlesbrough.
Ben Amos, another loan player from Manchester United, has been the regular goalkeeper this season, but Bruce has more than hinted that the 22-year-old looks likely to be replaced by Stockdale who should make his Hull debut today.
Four players who won't play are Joe Dudgeon, Matty Fryatt, Jack Hobbs and Tom Cairney. Dudgeon, with a knee injury, and Fryatt, Achilles, are both ruled out for the season. There is better news for both Hobbs and Cairney. They came through a reserve game this week and are targeting a return next Saturday.
To add to that, Paul McShane missed the win at Birmingham last week with a groin strain. He's suffered a recurrence this week and isn't likely to feature and, goalkeeper apart, it could be the same team although Seyi Olofinjana seems to be the one most vulnerable with both Corry Evans and Meyler pushing for a first team recall.
The player to watch for us is Sone Aluko. The 23-year-old started his career with his home town club Birmingham under the management of Bruce. He never played and moved to Scotland where he played for Aberdeen and Rangers before signing for Hull in the summer. He's scored eight goals in 16 starts in the Championship.
If Bruce sticks with the same team as last week, other than the goalkeeping change, the Hull team will be: David Stockdale, 27. Ahmed Elmohamady, 28. Alex Bruce, 23. Abdoulaye Faye, 5. James Chester, 2. Liam Rosenior, 16. Seyi Olofinjana, 10. Robert Koren, 29. Stephen Quinn, 24. Sone Aluko, 11. Jay Simpson. Subs from: 22. Ben Amos, 1. Eldin Jakupovic, 4. Paul McKenna, 8. Corry Evans, 9. Aaron Mclean, 30. Robbie Brady, 31. David Meyler, 33. Nick Proschwitz.
Last Time We Were There
It's one year ago this weekend that Burnley last travelled to Hull. We arrived on the back of a run of four successive defeats against Leicester, Bristol City, Leeds and Birmingham and with not too much more than ten minutes on the clock we were heading for defeat number five and a place in the bottom three of the Championship.
Illness kept me away from the game and I sat at my computer, listening to the radio commentary and following the threads on the message board. As scores elsewhere were going against us I saw us dropping into this relegation place and, given our recent form, wondered how we'd get out of it.
All's well that ends well they say and that was certainly the case here as David Edgar got his first two, and still only two, Burnley goals before Jay Rodriguez snatched a late, late winner.
|One of our own got the winner|
The afternoon had threatened to start well and we had two early chances to go in front both of which were spurned by Junior Stanislas. Sadly we were soon brought back down to earth as Cameron Stewart got the better of Kieran Trippier and crossed for Matty Fryatt to give the home side the lead.
In an otherwise nondescript half it was enough to see Hull in at the interval in front and their lead was doubled when Fryatt scored again ten minutes after the break with Lee Grant flapping dreadfully at his shot on a ground where he'd had a stormer in the previous season.
Hull, for much of the remainder of the game, were by far the better side. New home manager Nicky Barmby was getting the salute from the fans.
"He's one of our own," they sang but it was a change by Barmby that changed the course of the game. With thirteen minutes remaining he took the opportunity to give Andy Dawson, returning from injury, a few minutes and introduced him for Stewart. The game changed.
Within a minute we'd pulled one back when, following a free kick, Edgar headed home a Ross Wallace cross. Four minutes later, Sam Vokes, on as a substitute, flicked on a long throw and Edgar hooked it home from close range.
How we were level was hard to believe. We weren't deserving of anything from the game but we went looking for more. Keith Treacy brought a wonderful save from Peter Gulacsi and then, in the third minute of stoppage time, it was one of our own who won it for us.
Chris McCann knocked a pass into the path of Jay Rodriguez and he struck his shot across Gulacsi into the far bottom corner of the net and right in front of the Burnley fans. A defeat would have seen us down there with Coventry and Doncaster but the win took us to 16th place in the table and kicked off what was to be our best run of the season.
The teams were;
Hull: Peter Gulacsi, Liam Rosenior, Jack Hobbs, Joe Dudgeon, James Chester, Robert Koren, Paul McKenna, Corry Evans, Cameron Stewart (Andy Dawson 77), Robbie Brady (Dele Adebola 86), Matty Fryatt. Subs not used: Adriano Basso, Tom Cairney, Paul McShane.
Burnley: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, David Edgar, Ben Mee, Ross Wallace (Andre Amougou 90+6), Marvin Bartley, Chris McCann, Keith Treacy, Junior Stanislas (Sam Vokes 45), Jay Rodriguez. Subs not used: Jon Stewart, Brian Easton, Zavon Hines.
Previous Games against Hull
|Last 20 Years|
|1993/94||Division 2||a||2-1||11,232||Davis, Deary|
|h||3-1||10,574||Pender, Eyres(2 1pen)|
|1995/96||Division 2||h||2-1||10,613||Nogan, Allison(og)|
|2009/10||Premier League||h||2-0||20,219||Alexander(2 1pen)|
|a||4-1||24,369||Paterson, Alexander(2 2pens), Elliott|
|2010/11||Championship||h||4-0||14,458||Iwelumo(2), Eagles(2 1pen)|
Click HERE to see all previous results against Hull