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1516 burnley turf moor 04Burnley’s pre-season has been an unbeaten one with four wins against Stade Nyonaisse, Bradford City, Bolton Wanderers and Rangers with a draw at Morecambe, but now we are back home for the final friendly against Real Sociedad who themselves have been unbeaten in pre-season.

Like Burnley, they’ve drawn one game, that a 1-1 result against Villareal, but they’ve beaten Tolosa CF (5-0), UD Longrones (1-0), and on a recent tour of Holland, they beat Turkish club Konyaspor 1-0 in Arnhem before visiting NEC Nijmegen and Heerenveen where they won both games 2-0.

They’ve still four pre-season games to go, the last of which is in Germany against Bayer Leverkusen, but the next two are in England. After playing us this evening they will also play Middlesbrough tomorrow with a 1:30 p.m. kick off at the Riverside.

They are coming to England with 22 players although that won’t include Willian José who signed this week, nor either of Imanol Agirretxe or Jon Gaztañaga who are recovering from injury.

The travelling party is: Toño, Bardají, Carlos Martinez, Zaldua, Elustondo, Mikel, Inigo, Raul Navas, Yuri, Hector, Markel, Illarra, Barn, Brown, Zurutuza, Xabi Prieto, Juanmi, Sailing, Oyarzabal, David Concha Sanz, Zubeldia and Bautista.

Since the departure of David Moyes last November, they have been under the management of Eusebio Sacristán who, in his playing days, turned out on more than 200 occasions for Barcelona and won fifteen full caps for Spain. He had previously been manager of Barcelona B for four years.

They’ve had one English manager in their history; that was Harry Lowe between 1930 and 1935, whilst they’ve also been managed by two Welshmen John Toshack and Chris Coleman who have both also managed the Welsh national side. Toshack had three spells in charge and Coleman, more recently, was manager for six months from July 2007 to January 2008. Prior to Moyes, they were managed by Philippe Montanier, the current Nottingham Forest boss.

They ended last season in 9th place in La Liga with 48 points although that was a stunning 43 behind champions Barcelona in a season when the top three ran away with it.

As for Burnley, the frustration continues, certainly in terms of the transfer market. I think most people had hopes that there might have been signings this week but it now looks as though this final friendly will be played and we’ll be looking forward to the first league game against Swansea with the Charlton pair of Johann Berg Gudmundsson (pictured) and Nick Pope the only new recruits.

Gudmundsson played the second half last Saturday at Rangers, his first appearance for us, but Pope, who featured at Bradford City, played for the development squad on the previous evening at Altrincham with Tom Heaton, Paul Robinson and Conor Mitchell the goalkeepers on duty at Ibrox.

There are injury doubts. Both Ashley Barnes and Stephen Ward were ruled out with hamstring injuries and there has been no news on either. I don’t expect Barnes to feature but Ward could be fit enough to return.

Dyche will select tonight from: Tom Heaton, Paul Robinson, Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, Tendayi Darikwa, Cameron Dummigan, Michael Keane, Ben Mee, James Tarkowski, Kevin Long, Stephen Ward, Danny Lafferty, George Boyd, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Dean Marney, David Jones, Fredrik Ulvestad, Aiden O’Neill, Scott Arfield, Michael Kightly, Sam Vokes, Lukas Jutkiewicz, Andre Gray, Rouwen Hennings, Chris Long.

Kick off tonight is 7 p.m. at Turf Moor with tickets at £10 adults, £5 over 65s and under 18s, although the cost for adults increases to £15 from 1 p.m. today.

The last time we played a Spanish club in pre-season was two years ago when two Lukas Jutkiewicz goals gave us a 2-2 draw against Celta Vigo at home.

Juke ran on to a Ross Wallace pass to score in only the second minute of the game and then turned in an Ashley Barnes cross just a minute after Celta had equalised. It was a case of three goals in five second half minutes with Celta equalising again.

Burnley looked the more likely but Celta Vigo’s mini-tour of England ended with three draws; they had previously drawn 2-2 at Norwich and 1-1 at Wolves.

The teams that night were;

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Kieran Trippier (Luke O’Neill 84), Michael Duff, Jason Shackell, Ben Mee, Ross Wallace, Dean Marney (Matt Taylor 67), David Jones, Scott Arfield, Lukas Jutkiewicz (Marvin Sordell 79), Ashley Barnes (Steven Reid 79). Subs not used: Alex Cisak, Kevin Long, Tom Anderson, Danny Lafferty, Steven Hewitt, Michael Kightly, Jason Gilchrist.

Celta Vigo:  Rubén Blanco, Hugo Mallo (Jonny), Sergi Gómez (Cabral), David Costas (Andreu Fontàs), Samuel (Carles Planas), Lévy Madinda (Michael Krohn-Dehli), Goldar (Augusto Fernández), Yelko (Álex López), Santi Mina (Fabián Orellano), Joaquin Larrivey (Charles), Jordan (Nolito).

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