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bournemouth 1000x500There aren’t too many scheduled midweek games in the Premier League, just three in total, and the first of them tonight sees us making one of the longest journeys of the season to the Dorset coast and Bournemouth.

It’s the second time we will have met the Cherries there in the Premier League and Burnley wins down there have not occurred too often against a team who have never won at Turf Moor.

Our first ever visit was for an FA Cup tie in 1966 when a Willie Irvine goal secured us a replay from a 1-1 draw that we went on to win 7-0. But we had to wait another 18 seasons for our first ever league visit which ended in a 1-0 defeat in April 1984, this after we’d beaten them 5-1 in the home game earlier in the season.

There have been two wins there, both in the third tier, now League One. Goals from Chris Vinnicombe and Kurt Nogan gave us a 2-0 win there in 1995/96 and it was an Andy Payton goal, against a team that featured both Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall, that gave us a 1-0 win in February 2000.

We go into the game having cruelly lost against Arsenal last Sunday and midfielder Steven Defour was one of the players struggling to take in what has become a regular occurrence in games between the two clubs.

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“That’s three times now, right at the end of the game,” he said. “We’re getting a big frustrated. I remember the referee pointing at the penalty spot and I was saying ‘no again’. It’s weird. We are really disappointed and a bit angry as well.”

But Burnley, to use Dyche speak, park games when they are finished and move on to the next one and Defour is looking forward to tonight. “We’ve got to move on,” he said. “We’re in good shape, we’ve proven our good form, we showed it again against Arsenal. We didn’t deserve to lose but we’ve got another game so we’ve just got to keep going.”

What a turn round it has been for the Belgian this season. He’s started every game in the Premier League. He’s been on the pitch for over 1,100 minutes and during the Arsenal game he passed last season’s total number of minutes on the pitch.

He’ll take that total even further tomorrow night when he lines up in what will be a familiar looking Burnley line up. He’s currently one of seven ever presents alongside fellow midfielders Jack Cork and Robbie Brady plus the entire back four but it is looking increasingly likely that the figure will reduce to six tonight with Matt Lowton rated a doubt.

Lowton hasn’t missed a game since the Boxing Day win against Middlesbrough last year when he was ruled out with a suspension. He’s played every minute of every Premier League game since but should he miss tonight it could give Phil Bardsley a Burnley record.

Bardsley joined Burnley on loan in March 2006 and he and Andy Gray made their debuts at Stoke in a 1-0 defeat. Bardsley made just six appearances, the last of which came on 15th April at Hull when he was forced off with a hamstring injury six minutes before half time.

That means an appearance tonight will come eleven years, seven months and two weeks since his last league appearance for the club.

There are no other reported injuries and we received some good news yesterday with Jon Walters back in full training and just needing some development squad games before he’s ready to return to the first team.

I expect us to line up tonight: Nick Pope, Phil Bardsley, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Stephen Ward, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Steven Defour, Jack Cork, Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, Ashley Barnes. Subs from: Anders Lindegaard, Kevin Long, Charlie Taylor, Ashley Westwood, Scott Arfield, Nahki Wells, Sam Vokes, Chris Wood.

Bournemouth are currently 14th in the table with 14 points from 13 games. It’s the highest they’ve been in the league all season but that is mainly due to the terrible start they made, losing all of their first four games before winning their first points of the season with a 2-1 home win against Brighton in game five. Following that they only picked up one point from the next four games but they’ve since hit some good form with three wins and a draw in the last four games in which they’ve only conceded one goal.

They won 2-1 at Stoke and 1-0 at Newcastle before hitting Huddersfield for four at Dean Court. Last Saturday they kept a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw at Swansea. They have found goalscoring difficult, somewhat surprisingly for them, but that all changed with that home win against Huddersfield when Callum Wilson returned to action after a long term injury to score a hat trick.

He’s immediately the leading scorer with those goals with midfielder Andrew Surman the only other player to have scored more than once. But there remains a real threat with Wilson alongside such as Josh King and Jermain Defoe although Defoe and ex-Claret Junior Stanislas, who missed the Swansea game, are both still doubtful.

How will Bournemouth line up? It was thought that Simon Francis, suspended for the game at Swansea, would return, but Adam Smith came in and turned in an outstanding display.

Bournemouth’s team at Swansea was: Asmir Begovic, Adam Smith, Steve Cook, Nathan Aké, Charlie Daniels, Dan Gosling, Andrew Surman, Lewis Cook, Marc Pugh, Josh King, Benik Afobe. Subs: Artur Boruc, Harry Arter, Lys Mousset, Jack Simpson, Jordon Ibe, Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser.

 

LAST TIME WE WERE THERE

 

Burnley had guaranteed a place in the Premier League for 2017/18 a week before we made the trip to Bournemouth for the final away game of last season.

With us having reached the 40 points total with two games to go, and a promise from the manager that we would go hard in the last two games, I think we expected better than what we actually got. It was a real end of season affair and, although Bournemouth were the better side, I can’t imagine either manager being too pleased with the performances of their teams.

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Junior Stanislas, predictably, against his former club, gave Bournemouth the lead midway through the first half. It was an awful goal from our point of view. Stanislas was allowed to get past Stephen Ward far too easily and his shot should have been dealt with by Tom Heaton.

For much of the remainder of the game it looked as though it would end 1-0, but seven minutes from time we conjured up an equaliser when a terrific ball in from the right by Johann Berg Gudmundsson was headed home by our man of the match Sam Vokes.

A point then, well not quite. Two minutes later they were back in front with a goal that was even worse from our point of view than their first. Both central defenders, James Tarkowski and Kevin Long, were horribly at fault in allowing Josh King to win it for the home side.

The teams were;

Bournemouth: Artur Boruc, Adam Smith, Simon Francis, Steve Cook, Charlie Daniels, Junior Stanislas (Jordan Ibe 87), Harry Arter (Dan Gosling 81), Lewis Cook, Marc Pugh, Josh King, Lys Mousset (Ryan Fraser 66). Subs not used: Ryan Allsop, Tyrone Mings, Brad Smith, Max Gradel.

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, Kevin Long, James Tarkowski, Stephen Ward, George Boyd (Robbie Brady 55), Jeff Hendrick, Ashley Westwood, Scott Arfield (Johann Berg Gudmundsson 75), Sam Vokes, Ashley Barnes (Andre Gray ht). Subs not used: Nick Pope, Jon Flanagan, Tendayi Darikwa, Steven Defour.

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