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1920 burnley turf moor 02 1000x500It seems Burnley and Norwich City have been doing all they can in the last decade to avoid meeting but tomorrow we come face to face for the first time in a league game for nine seasons.

When we first went up to the Premier League in 2009, they were heading in the opposite direction into League One, but a year later we were both back in the Championship. We got the better of them with the two results that season but they, undoubtedly had the better season.

We drew 2-2 at Carrow Road but should have won the game and would have done but for a shocking decision right at the end from referee Trevor Kettle who should have ruled out Norwich’s equaliser. We’d played really well in the first half to lead 2-0 with two Martin Paterson goals but Chris Martin and then Andrew Crofts scored for the home side in the second half.

Things had changed at Burnley by the time they came to Turf Moor in early February and this fixture was Eddie Howe’s first home league game in charge. Dean Marney gave us a first half lead before Grant Holt equalised just past the hour. Jay Rodriguez got the winner around nine minutes from the end.

They went up and stayed up for three years before coming back down as we went up. A year later we swapped again and again a year after that, but eventually we do meet again, and it’s the first time in the Premier League and the first time in the top flight since 1975/76 when we drew 4-4 at home with Peter Noble scoring all four and losing 3-1 away in Joe Brown’s first game in charge; Keith Newton scored our goal that day.

We go into the game having won our first home game 3-0 and then lost the next one by the same score while we’ve added a couple more points with 1-1 draws at Wolves and Brighton. The first of those two should have been a win and last week we have to admit to being a little bit fortunate to come out with a point at Brighton. Given the fixtures we’ve had, three of the first five away and two of the games so far against top six teams, we can be reasonably pleased with five points but, overall, I do think our performances have deserved more.

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Erik Pieters, who has played all of the five games at left back, admitted the players were not happy with the Brighton showing. He said: “Straight after the game on the bus everyone spoke about it: ‘listen, this is not us, we are so much better than this,’ Of course you are happy and pleased you nick a point in the last minute, which makes you a bit better, but the lads and everyone are realistic and we don’t want that to happen again.”

He added: “Personal wise and team wise we need to build and have a better performance for ninety minutes. I was at fault for a late equaliser against Wolves and then we nicked a point against Brighton, also in the last minute. Sometimes these things go for you and sometimes they go against. If we get a couple of wins now then it will be a perfect start, but we must be happy how we have started and now must continue.”

There’s been a lot of talk about team changes this week. I always like to see the unchanged team announcements because it means we must be playing well and getting results. Sean Dyche has only made one change all season with Aaron Lennon coming in for the injured Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson for the last two games.

Guðmundsson is on his way back but with limited training I would be surprised if he started the game but if a change is to be made then it could be Jeff Hendrick, who came on and scored the late equaliser last week, coming in on that right hand side where he was so effective in the second half of last season.

If that does happen then we could line up: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Erik Pieters, Jeff Hendrick, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil, Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood. Subs from: Joe Hart, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Ben Gibson, Charlie Taylor, Aaron Lennon, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson, Robbie Brady, Jay Rodriguez, Matěj Vydra.

Norwich were last season’s surprise package in the Championship. They had an outstanding season and won the league with 94 points. They scored a total of 93 goals but also conceded 57 with so many goals coming late in games.

Having won promotion, they didn’t spend much money in the transfer market but the goals have continued to flow in their opening games. In their first five Premier League games there have been 21 goals; they’ve scored nine of those but conceded twelve. Six of those goals have been scored by Finnish striker Teemu Pukki (pictured), he got a hat trick against Newcastle and has only failed to score in one game.

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They’ve already played three of the big six. They were beaten 4-1 at Liverpool in the Premier League’s opening game of the season, lost 3-2 at home against Chelsea but last Saturday tea time they stunned the whole football world by beating Manchester City 3-2 at Carrow Road, a first defeat for the current champions since the end of January.

They won that game with a number of players missing and Daniel Farke will still be without a number of players which includes Max Aarons, Ralf Fährmann, Onel Hernandez, Timm Klose, Tom Trybull, Mario Vrancic and Christoph Zimmermann for tomorrow’s game.

With that in mind, it is likely that their team will be similar to the one that played against Manchester City and that was: Tim Krul, Sam Byram, Jamal Lewis, Ibrahim Amadou, Ben Godfrey, Kenny McLean, Emiliano Buendia, Alex Tettey, Marco Stiepermann, Todd Cantwell, Teemu Pukki. Subs: Ralf Fährmann, Michael McGovern, Grant Hanley, Philip Heise, Josip Drmic, Adam Idah, Dennis Srbeny.

 

LAST TIME THEY WERE HERE

 

Norwich’s visit in February 2011 was a rare home league game. The three previous games had all been played away at Scunthorpe, Portsmouth and Doncaster with the next three to come on the road at Watford, Cardiff and Preston.

It was a new look Burnley team for the home supporters. It was Charlie Austin’s home debut, Marvin Bartley, new manager Eddie Howe’s other signing, was on the bench. Wade Elliott had a watching brief too from the bench, the first time he hadn’t started a Championship game since Blackpool almost two years earlier. We needed a good performance after an awful showing at Doncaster in midweek and we got just that.

At the time, I wrote: ” The game had everything, or should have had. It had goals, it had players diving, it had the most appalling and incompetent referee you are ever likely to see, and just to send us all home happy it had a late winner from our new England man Jay Rodriguez.”

We took the lead when Clarke Carlisle won possession and found Ross Wallace. He carried the ball forward before moving it on to Chris Eagles who in turn played it to Dean Marney who struck the sweetest of shots into the bottom corner from a few yards outside the box.

We’d been the better side in the first half but Norwich improved after the break and it was no surprised when they levelled and what a good goal it was with the impressive Wes Hoolahan crossing from the left for Grant Holt to finish brilliantly.

The game turned our way with the introduction of Chris Iwelumo who started to cause them problems but when the winner came it was from a Danny Fox free kick on our right. Jay Rodriguez met it at the far post, despite the attentions of Aaron Wilbraham and scored from close range, the ball going through John Ruddy’s legs.

The teams were;

Burnley: Lee Grant, Tyrone Mears, Clarke Carlisle, Michael Duff, Danny Fox, Chris Eagles (Graham Alexander 85), Jack Cork, Dean Marney, Ross Wallace (Chris Iwelumo 72), Charlie Austin (Wade Elliott 65), Jay Rodriguez. Subs not used: Brian Jensen, Andre Bikey, Marvin Bartley, Steven Thompson.

Norwich: John Ruddy, Russell Martin, Leon Barnett, Elliott Ward, Zak Whitbread (Simon Lappin 45), Adam Drury, Andrew Crofts, Wes Hoolahan, Henri Lansbury (Aaron Wilbraham 72), Simeon Jackson (Chris Martin 62), Grant Holt. Subs not used: Steer, Marc Tierney, David Fox, Korey Smith.

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