Ade has starred in these games

Ade Akinbiyi - has been in the goals in this fixture
Make no mistake about it though, for when the Clarets come face to face with the Potters this Monday, this fixture will have all the ingredients of a local derby, plus a few more; Steve Cotterill, Dave Kevan, Wayne Thomas, James O’Connor, Gifton Noel-Williams and Ade Akinbiyi. Add to that list, Luke Chadwick who spent a season on loan with the Clarets and former Burnley trialist, Marlon Broomes, some outsiders may perceive this as a game of ‘happy families’. The fans of Burnley and Stoke City, of course know differently.

The progress made by both Burnley and Stoke City this season has surprised a large number of football fans up and down the country. Both teams are scoring at free will currently, yet both sides adopt very different formations on the pitch. With Burnley and Stoke both currently appearing 2nd behind Reading in the current form tables (for home and away matches respectfully), one can safely assume that this encounter will not end in a stalemate.

Speaking after his sides impressive 3-2 victory away at Kenilworth Road last week, Stoke manager, Johan Boskamp commented that “…our secret away from home is that we just keep scoring one more goal than the other team." In other words, the Potters do have obvious weaknesses in defence, but at the same time, they are extremely prolific up front, thanks mainly to the goals of record Stoke City signing Sam Bangoura and their young and talented loan forward, Paul Gallacher, who as we all know is an employee of Blackburn Rovers.

As we take a look back at some recent Turf Moor meetings between the two sides, one man has taken the headlines in the two most recent fixtures and he needs no introduction at all as you’re about to find out.

In 2003/2004 Ade Akinbiyi scored the winning goal in what was a terrible game of football at Turf Moor. With players playing out of position and the likes of Glen Little out injured, the Clarets turned in a display which desperately lacked inspiration, guile and creativity. Tony Grant performed admirably in the heart of Burnley’s midfield but it was through the middle of the field that John Eustace was able to slot a simple pass through to an unmarked Akinbiyi, who tucked the ball under Jensen in the Burnley goal to give Stoke City a 1-0 lead; one which they would not surrender.

More recently, following a well observed minutes silence for Brian Clough who had recently died, the September clash of 2004 started very well for Steve Cotterill’s side, as Burnley took the lead inside five minutes. Ian Moore had made a good run down the right hand side and was tripped by Gerry Taggart just outside the area. Robbie Blake sent in a low free kick which was met sweetly by the outstretched right boot of Moore, who found the bottom left hand corner of Ed de Goey’s goal for what was his last league goal at Turf Moor.

Ian Moore - gave us an early lead last season
The former Dutch number one had no chance with Moore’s strike and not long later he was picking the ball out of his net yet again. This time the attack came from down the left hand side as Mo Camara found time and space to pick out Robbie Blake in the Burnley box. Blake turned sharply but was brought to the deck by a very clumsy tackle. Blake got up, brushed himself down and drilled a fine penalty into the right hand corner of the net.

Just as we should have gone 3-0 up before half time, the Potters pulled a goal back through Ade Akinbiyi, who had the simplest task of rolling the ball home, as Danny Coyne could only parry the ball to his feet, less than a yard from goal. To make matters worse, the referee still found time to dismiss Michael Duff from the action, as the Burnley full back deliberately handled the ball and earned himself a second yellow card in front of the Burnley dugout.

In the second half, the Clarets were slow out of the blocks and the football they tried to play was of a defensive nature. It was no surprise to see Stoke trying to exploit our weakened right hand side and not too long after the restart they were level as Akinbiyi waltzed into the Burnley box from down our right hand side, before tucking a perfectly placed shot under Danny Coyne.

Neither side provided much of a threat after Akinbiyi’s second goal and with Burnley playing the entire second period with ten men, a point was probably a fair outcome, even though we had been well clear at 2-0 in the first half.

The ‘throw one in’ season of 2002/2003 saw the Clarets take the points in what was a closely fought contest at Turf Moor, against a Stoke side under the management of Steve Cotterill.

For the first hour it was a true battle of attrition, with ex-Claret, Andy Cooke, providing a constant threat up front for Stoke. With little over a quarter of the game left, Stoke’s pressure finally got its reward, as a deflected shot fell kindly to an unmarked Bjarni Gudjonsson who struck them into a 1-0 lead.

After a very poor start to the season, Burnley supporters dropped their heads and very few expected what was about to happen. Two minutes after going behind the Clarets drew level as Arthur Gnohere sprung highest to meet an Alan Moore corner, leaving Neil Cutler with no chance in the Stoke goal. Five minutes later it got even better for the home side as Lenny Johnrose seemingly walked through a string of Stoke City midfielders, before laying a nice ball out wide.

Glen Little met the pass and whipped in a perfect cross for super sub, Dimi Papadopoulos, who managed to rise highest, flexing his neck muscles to divert the ball into the bottom right hand of the goal. It was a stunning header, worthy of winning any game of football.

Boxing Day promises to provide a real sporting spectacle at Turf Moor. Over 2500 Supporters are expected to travel from the Potteries and it can only be hoped that chants of ‘Steve Cotterill’s Claret and Blue Army’ completely drown out Stoke’s rendition of Delilah. Expect a cracking atmosphere, expect fireworks on the pitch and let’s keep our fingers crossed for three points come quarter to five.