Preview: Burnley v Middlesbrough

9 Sep

Middlesbrough will be the third team to visit Turf Moor in the league this season. Samuel Marsden looks ahead to their visit this weekend.

I am hoping for a strange bit of symmetry to take place this weekend. If that is indeed what it is. Burnley’s last away win in the league was at Derby back in April, that was put right last time out. At Derby. Middlesbrough’s last away defeat was back in April. At Burnley. Hopefully the pattern will continue.

The Clarets will be without the usual long-term injury absentees. Forwards Martin Paterson and Danny Ings are nowhere near a first team return, while defender Michael Duff will be out for around another month.

On a more positive note, Junior Stanislas will be expected to be somewhere near the team sheet come three o’clock following his deadline day move from West Ham. Marvin Bartley also returns to the squad following his suspension for his red card at Crystal Palace.

Brian Jensen will presumably continue in goal, and you’d expect Eddie Howe to continue with the same back four that beat Derby. Although with David Edgar returning from international duty with Canada, Andre Bikey may push for a return to the starting XI.

Middlesbrough sit in the top six after a decent start to the season, and Tony Mowbray’s side will be near full strength for their trip into Lancashire. Goalkeeper Jason Steele will not be fit and Kevin Thomson is unlikely to feature, although he did play forty-five minutes for the reserves in midweek.

Barry Robson and Scott McDonald are both expected to shake of knocks. Elsewhere in the ‘boro side will be Rhys Williams, deployed in a central midfield role. The one-time Burnley loanee enjoyed a good run of form at right back in the 08/09 promotion season.

Burnley’s win over Middlesbrough in April is the away sides only loss in nineteen matches. Mowbray, as he did at West Brom, has earnt his side the reputation of being an attractive footballing team. As has Eddie Howe, so in theory it should be a match which pleases the eye.

In Charlie Austin and Marvin Emnes both sides possess a striker who has started the league campaign firing. Austin has four goals in four league appearance, plus another in the Carling Cup. Emnes has hit seven goals in seven appearances this season, but hopefully it’s only Charlie who has added to those tallies come five o’clock on Saturday.

With Middlesbrough’s start to the season and Burnley’s encouraging win at Pride Park (throw in my tinted specs too) it is a difficult game to predict. I don’t back us to keep a clean-sheet, so I’d say both teams will score. It is very tempting to sit on the fence, but with my specs I’m going to be bold and throw this out there…

…prediction: Burnley 3-2 Middlesbrough

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