It doesn't seem five minutes since I was leaving home for the first game of the year. That was at Leeds on Monday 2nd January and a day when we battled for so long with ten men, even taking the lead, before conceding two late goals, one as late as the 97th minute.
Six of our starting eleven that afternoon were in the team that beat Derby this week as was Sam Vokes, who in both games came on as a substitute for Charlie Austin.
Charlie Austin. He scored that day at Leeds. It was his first goal since the home win against Blackpool in late October and he only scored once more until we turned up at Portsmouth on the last day of March.
That day he was named as a substitute. He came on for the injured Martin Paterson seven minutes into the second half and by the time the game had finished he'd bagged his first Burnley hat trick.
|31 goals in 2012 for Charlie Austin with the first one at Leeds|
Since, he's never really stopped scoring and he goes into tomorrow's game with an incredible 31 goals in 2012. Four of them are penalties and three more could realistically been given as own goals but his goal return is nothing short of phenomenal for a young player in his first full calendar year at this level.
The last of those goals came on Boxing Day. Charlie himself thought his shot was on target before the deflection but whether it was or it wasn't (and it wasn't by some distance) he has been credited with it.
It's hard to believe he's just 23 and is still really just making his way in the game (for those who don't know, he used to build walls), but as always he wants to pass on much of the credit to his team mates.
"It's some achievement. I'm pleased," he said. "My performances so far have been good and I am happy with that, but, as I have said before, it's all about the team and they have done really well for me and I have just played my part in putting the ball in the net.
"This year has been good for me. It's really opened me up as a person and I would just like to push on through to 2013 with Burnley Football Club. I will keep working hard every day in training and off the pitch as well and look forward to going into games full of confidence. Hopefully I can do that in 2013."
I read today on some website or other that Sean Dyche will be checking on Charlie ahead of the game. I'd almost forgotten he'd come off against Derby with a tightened muscle. He missed the Leicester game at the King Power Stadium but I expect him to be fit for this one.
The only player we know to be ruled out is Ben Mee. He'll still be out for a while but there could be better news on Junior Stanislas who had a tight hamstring on Wednesday and was left out.
I can't see many, if any changes to the team that played against Derby. If we go with the same eleven we'll line up: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, Jason Shackell, Danny Lafferty, Dean Marney, Chris McCann, Ross Wallace, Danny Ings, Martin Paterson, Charlie Austin. Subs from: Brian Jensen, Kevin Long, David Edgar, Joseph Mills, Brian Stock, Marvin Bartley, Junior Stanislas, Keith Treacy, Sam Vokes.
Leicester arrive at Burnley in fifth place in the league. They have 38 points which is five more than us and have won 26 of those points at home. Away from home they have won three times at Middlesbrough, Huddersfield and Sheffield Wednesday.
They kicked off this month with an emphatic 4-1 home win against Derby but like us, beating Derby is their only win in December. They were then held to a disappointing home draw against Barnsley and since, in three games, have failed to score as they've suffered 1-0 defeats at Millwall and at home to league leaders Cardiff before drawing at second place Hull on Boxing Day.
Leaving the Turf on Wednesday I was reminded that we'd need to score a minimum of two if we wanted to beat them given that David Nugent would be playing. He certainly does have the knack of scoring against us, something he had with both Preston and Portsmouth before signing for Leicester in the summer of 2011.
Nugent is, needless to say, their leading goalscorer. He had a problematic start to the season. Having not scored in any of their last four games last season he added another seven games before getting off the mark. Yes, you've guessed, it was against us and was their equaliser in their 2-1 win at Leicester in September.
He's certainly not a one man band. They have a big squad and a strong squad, and certainly another player to watch out for is Anthony Knockaert who played so well against us in that September game. The young Frenchman has been linked with a move to Arsenal but manager Nigel Pearson has said he is not for sale.
They've spent plenty of money and intend doing so again in the January transfer window. They've already agreed the signing of Chris Wood, currently at Millwall on loan, from West Brom and tonight it is being suggested that Blackpool defender Alex Baptiste is also on his way to Leicester.
Pearson has already suggested that they will utilise their squad over the Christmas period so that could mean changes making it difficult to make any suggestions on their line up.
Defender Sean St Ledger, scorer of a cracking goal at Burnley in 2006 whilst playing for Preston, is ruled out with a hamstring injury and Ritchie De Laet, substituted at Hull, faces a late fitness test. Pearson might also have both Jamie Vardy (heel) and Michael Keane (hamstring) available as they come back from their injuries.
The Leicester team at Hull was: 1. Kasper Schmeichel, 2. Ritchie De Laet, 5. Wes Morgan, 6. Zak Whitbread, 3. Paul Konchesky, 10. Andy King, 4. Danny Drinkwater, 16. Matty James, 24. Anthony Knockaert, 35. David Nugent, 7. Ben Marshall. Subs: 13. Conrad Logan, 22. Liam Moore, 18. Jeffrey Schlupp, 29. Marko Futacs, 11. Lloyd Dyer, 17. Paul Gallagher, 14. Martyn Waghorn.
Last Time They Were Here
Burnley went into the home game against Leicester last season on the back of two wins against Coventry and Blackpool that had lifted us to 15th in the table. Leicester, who had played one game more, were one place ahead of us with one more point.
We lost the game 3-1 for what was our third home defeat of the season, but we could have little complaint with Leicester the better side for all but a twenty minute period in the first half.
Eddie Howe had made the one change to the team that had beaten Blackpool. Brian Easton was ruled out with injury forcing the manager to play Ben Mee there.
Leicester were without a manager. Just over a week earlier they had sacked Sven Goran Eriksson and Mike Stowell was in temporary charge with Nigel Pearson's return to come two weeks later.
|Ross Wallace headed the equaliser|
They looked a good side. David Nugent almost game them an early lead too but, after a mistake by David Edgar let him in, he was denied by a brilliant save from Lee Grant. It set the pattern and for the first twenty minutes it was almost one way traffic so it was no surprise when they went in front.
Steve Howard headed a ball down but Edgar cleared. Junior Stanislas lost out to Paul Konchesky who scored from outside the box. Grant got a hand to it but couldn't keep it out.
Was it poor goalkeeping? I'm not sure it was but it certainly was three minutes later when we equalised. Souleymane Bamba headed a long Kieran Trippier throw straight up into the air. Kasper Schmeichel got there but his punch was very poor and it allowed Ross Wallace to head the ball over him and into the net.
The goal changed things and for the remainder of the first half we took control of the game. Marvin Bartley came close almost immediately afterwards but the closest we came was right on half time when Charlie Austin hit a post.
It had been a half that could be split into two with Leicester totally dominated the first half of it and then the Clarets dominating the rest of it. The question was who would take the initiative in the second half.
We started the brighter and Andre Amougou had an early header cleared off the line. But we couldn't sustain it and Leicester came right back to completely take over for the rest of the game.
They were soon back in front. Bartley lost the ball in his own half and they quickly got the ball out wide to Paul Gallagher. He crossed for the unmarked David Nugent to score.
Soon after it was 3-1 and this time it was Gallagher from the penalty spot. Eddie Howe wasn't happy with the award and it looked harsh but once converted that was that. We never looked as though we might get back into it and were probably fortunate Leicester didn't add any further goals.
Having said that, Leicester were probably as good a side as we'd come up against all season.
The teams were;
Burnley: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, Andre Amougou, David Edgar, Ben Mee, Ross Wallace (Zavon Hines 78), Marvin Bartley (Michael Duff 90), Chris McCann, Junior Stanislas (Keith Treacy 68), Charlie Austin, Jay Rodriguez. Subs not used: Jon Stewart, Dean Marney.
Leicester: Kasper Schmeichel, Lee Peltier, Matt Mills, Souleymane Bamba (Sean St. Ledger 83), Paul Konchesky, Paul Gallagher (Jeffrey Schlupp 88), Andy King, Richie Wellens, Neil Danns (Michael Johnson 81), David Nugent, Steve Howard. Subs not used: Chris Weale, Jermaine Beckford.
Previous Games against Leicester
|Last 20 Years|
|2002/03||Division 1||a||1-0||26,254||I Moore|
|2010/11||Championship||h||3-0||15,516||Wallace, Iwelumo, Alexander(pen)|
Click HERE to see all previous results against Leicester