New look Clarets head south

Last updated : 13 January 2007 By Tony Scholes
Rudi Skacel
Three new signings since then, two of them on loan, and one of that team beaten at the KC Stadium no longer with the club, will certainly mean some changes in the Burnley side that face a Southampton side that has climbed to fourth place on the back of an unbeaten run of five league games.

Manager George Burley has a sizeable squad and hasn't felt the need to bring in any new players since the transfer window opened, and having made no use of the loan market this season he has the same group of players that he had when they played us at the Turf back in September.

They won that game 3-2, but benefited from Wayne Thomas being sent off early in the game with the Clarets already a goal up and dominating. Not for the first time we suffered at the hands of Polish striker Grzegorz Rasiak who scored twice that day. They were two of the sixteen league goals Rasiak has netted so far this season, just one behind the league's leading scorer, Norwich City's Robert Earnshaw.

That win took the Saints to third in the table, and that's the highest position they have held all season. It lasted for just one week and a disappointing run of form then took them down to twelfth, the position we currently hold, but just one defeat in the last ten games has seen them climb back up into the play off positions.

They've also won through to the 4th round of the FA Cup, winning 2-0 at Torquay last week. They now face a trip to either Sheffield Wednesday or Manchester City in the next round.

Click HERE to see all Southampton's results this season.

Our games against them last season were the first since the 1970s, both were drawn and we are still looking for our first win against them since September 1976 when goals from Peter Noble and Ray Hankin gave us a 2-0 home win against them.

Team News

George Burley is considering playing central defender Claus Lundekvam. The Southampton captain had surgery to repair a depressed fracture of a cheekbone ten days ago, the third such operation he's had, and he could play in with a facial mask although the decision has been left to the player.

Last week Darren Powell played in the centre of the defence in the cup win at Torquay. It was his first game since suffering a cruciate ligament injury last April. He's had little reaction and could play again if required.

Further good news for Burley is that he has three other players available in Gareth Bale, who has recovered from a hamstring strain, Alexander Ostlund who has been suffering with a virus and Kenwyne Jones who has now completed a three match suspension. Rudi Skacel could also come back into the reckoning although he could still be ruled out with an Achilles injury.

Definitely out are Inigo Idiakez, Djamel Belmadi, Chris Makin, Andrew Surman, Michael Svensson and our former loan player Nathan Dyer – all are out with injuries.

The likely Southampton side is: Kelvin Davis, Alexander Ostlund, Claus Lundekvam, Chris Baird, Gareth Bale, Mario Licka, Jermaine Wright, Pele, Rudi Skacel, Grzegorz Rasiak, Bradley Wright-Phillips. Subs from: Bartosz Bialkowski, Martin Cranie, Adam Lallana, Darren Powell, Simon Gillett, David Prutton, Jhon Viafara, Marcelo Sarmiento, David McGoldrick, Kenwyne Jones.

Click HERE to see the full Southampton squad.

Micah Hyde played in the last league game for the Clarets but he'll be in action for Peterborough at Darlington today after completing his transfer to the League Two club yesterday.

Steve Cotterill though will have three new players at his disposal. One of them, Ade Akinbiyi, played in the FA Cup tie against Reading in midweek but is ready for his second league debut for the Clarets whilst in the last two days we've added to the squad with two loan signings, goalkeeper Mike Pollitt from Wigan and Aston Villa midfielder Eric Djemba-Djemba.

Two of those three are certain to play, Ade will play up front whilst Pollitt will replace Brian Jensen in goal after his disappointing performance at Reading. I suspect though that Djemba-Djemba, who was travelling down to meet his new team mates today, will probably have to settle for a place on the bench having hardly played this season.

Michael Duff will return to the centre of defence after suspension and I'm sure both Alan Mahon and Kyle Lafferty will have chances of playing following their contributions from the bench on Tuesday, however I think they might just again have to settle for a subs place.

Our team could well be: Mike Pollitt, Wayne Thomas, Michael Duff, John McGreal, Jon Harley, Wade Elliott, James O'Connor, Chris McCann, Steve Jones, Gifton Noel-Williams, Ade Akinbiyi. Subs from: Brian Jensen, Stephen Foster, Alan Mahon, Eric Djemba-Djemba, Kyle Lafferty, Garreth O'Connor, John Spicer, Graham Branch.

Last Meeting

Last season's game at Southampton was our first ever visit to St Mary's, not only that it was our first visit to Southampton for 28 years, and we earned ourselves a fully deserved point from a 1-1 draw.

It was a funny sort of day with manager Harry Redknapp being told to stay away and the home side placed under the leadership of Dave Bassett and that obnoxious little man who is now manager at Leeds. The home crowd were more intent on openly demonstrating against their duck shooting chairman Rupert Lowe who has now departed after a summer coup.

“Harry's going to Pompey,” cried the Burnley fans and the home fans joined in, and they had more to celebrate when Danny Higginbotham, now at Stoke, gave them the lead from the penalty spot after a foul from Micah Hyde. There were no complaints although just a few minutes later we should have had a penalty ourselves but, as we have now become used to, the referee said no.

Southampton deserved their half time lead but the Clarets came storming back in the second half and just over twenty minutes in and we were level. Graham Branch, who played in the centre of defence on his return from injury, got down the left wing and fired in a superb cross that was met by Ade Akinbiyi with a diving header that gave Antti Niemi in the Southampton goal no chance.

That's how it ended, probably a fair result, and the home fans went off looking for their absent manager and to chant once more against Rupert Lowe who by then was probably enjoying a duck shoot.

The teams were;

Southampton: Antti Niemi, Darren Kenton, Darren Powell, Danny Higginbotham, Rory Delap, Djamel Belmadi (Neil McCann 74), David Prutton, Matt Oakley, Kamil Kosowski, Theo Walcott (Kenwyne Jones 67), Brett Ormerod (Ricardo Fuller 67). Subs not used: Paul Smith, Martin Cranie.

Burnley: Brian Jensen, Keith Lowe, Frank Sinclair, Graham Branch, Jon Harley, Wade Elliott, John Spicer (Gifton Noel-Williams 60), Micah Hyde, James O'Connor, Garreth O'Connor, Ade Akinbiyi. Subs not used: Lee Grant, Duane Courtney, Chris McCann, Danny Karbassiyoon.Andruszewski.

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Jones Gray

Click HERE to see all our results against Southampton, the first of them an FA Cup tie in 1908.