Vital Burnley ed. turfmanphil joins us today to give us some insight on the Clarets
How has the season to date matched your hopes, fears and expectations?
It has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. Expectations were high after Laws left and a new promising manager arrived in Eddie Howe. We lost a lot of our older key players though, did not spend too much in the summer window and then had to accept we were now in transition with a squad rebuilding underway. Some felt a little disappointed after a recent spell in the Premier and we all wondered where the money had gone. The earlier part of the season was pretty dire and back in November with 15 minutes to go at the KC Stadium and 2-0 down against Hull we were in danger of dropping into the bottom three. Somehow we came back from the dead to win 3-2 and then went on a run that saw the Clarets become a play-offs contender!
We have dropped off the pace again now and we seem to be one of many clubs struggling to find enough consistency to mount a decent promotion challenge. I think we have blown it for this season but could be strong contenders next season. It`s getting rather crucial though we do get up again with the FIFA Fair Play ruling about to kick in affecting clubs with low turnover more than the bigger clubs.The parachute payments are also running out and we only get half the previous two seasons in 2012-13.
We met early on in the season – what’s change for the Clarets since then?
The opening game of the season was against the Hornets and it finished 2-2. It was disappointing really for Burnley fans and things didn`t really improve that much until the Hull game mentioned above. We have played some dire games, the worst being the defeat last Saturday at home to Millwall and we have played some sublime football including games away against West Ham, Middlesbrough and Brighton. In fact our away form has been pretty impressive with eight wins so far this season. Our inconsistency and home form have let us down this season. If we hadn`t hit a bad patch recently, I would say we were playing far better than we did in the season opener but you just never know which of our enigmatic team will show up on the day.
Has Eddie Howe delivered yet when you consider the brilliant reputation he arrived with?
I think the jury is still out to be honest. He is currently moulding the team in his own light and there certainly looks to be potential there but you just worry that more key players will go in the summer e.g Jay Rodriguez. A lot of players are out of contract too and Howe tends to go for youth rather than experience. Anybody over 30 is at a disadvantage it seems! We could be back to rebuilding and I don`t think enough has been spent this season to provide sufficient depth in the squad nor cover for key positions e.g right back, centre midfield. We could be a strong squad challenging for promotion and with a higher chance of success if the Board would release more of the purse strings. I do like Howe though and given the chance and resources, I am confident he could get us in the Premier League, just a question of how soon!
If you could inflict one Burnley player on Watford in exchange for a Hornet, who would it be?
You already got Chris Iwelumo! Have to say that made us chuckle! Keith Treacy has simply failed to deliver this season. Having lost wingers Wade Elliott and Chris Eagles, he had a lot to live up to and he hasn`t! We will swop him for your Craig Forsyth. Thnk he scored against us in opener?
Who is the key man for Burnley and why?
Kieran Trippier is one of the best right backs and attacking defenders I have seen at Turf Moor in many a season. His crossing is sublime at times and he gets the odd goal or two. His energy and enthusiasm knows no bounds.
Where will you finish this season?
Never,say never but unless we go on a run, our hopes of a Play-Offs spot look pretty remote since we are already six points off the pace behind clubs with games in hand. It`s looking more like mid-table mediocrity again. Eighth was seen as failure by the chairman last season after being in the top flight the previous season and we will be lucky to finish higher than that! I will say 10th-14th and hope I am wrong.
If the breath-taking team that beat West Ham and Boro turn up or even the one that played so well in our last away game at Reading despite losing we could be too strong for the Hornets! Trouble is we are not on top form and played dire football in our last match at home to Millwall on Saturday. Lost two on the bounce now so you have every chance of beating us should that team turn up again.
We don’t do draws this season away from home. In fact we have not had one! Laws of Averages? I am thinking 2-2 again!
Cheers Phil. I think I speak for all Hornets supporters when I say, thanks for Big Chris…not.
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