It’s cup night at Ewood
Almost two weeks ago, Burnley were given an away tie in the League Cup which means tonight we make the short trip to Ewood Park to face League One opposition in Blackburn Rovers.
Some were excited by the draw, others, including myself, wished we’d have been drawn against a different club given the situation every time we meet our local rivals with the bus operation forcing restrictions on all of us. But Blackburn it is with the two sides meeting in the League Cup for the first time in the competition’s 58 year history.
In Sean Dyche’s first full season at Burnley we had a nice little run in this competition, beating York, Preston and Nottingham Forest before going out to West Ham in a game that saw future Claret Matt Taylor score one of the Hammers’ two penalties.
Since then it has hardly been a competition to bring too much joy, or any joy at all. Since that 2013 win against Nottingham Forest we haven’t even scored a goal and in each of the last three years we’ve gone out in 1-0 defeats against Sheffield Wednesday, Port Vale and Accrington.
Dyche made seven changes for that defeat against Wednesday three years ago but one year later made just four changes at Port Vale with the same result. Last year I think we were all astonished when only Sam Vokes remained in the side with ten changes made.
This year, while not expecting ten changes, I think it will be more than the other two games with a much different looking team than has kicked off the Premier League.
Captain Tom Heaton, who is expected to sit this game out, has said: “Make no mistake, we were all delighted when the draw came in. It’s a fantastic match we are all looking forward to. It’s a fantastic night as players, fans and for the club. We’ve had some good results against them over the last few years and hopefully we can come away with the win.”
He added: “The new lads coming in will certainly get an eye for the atmosphere and how good it is. They’re brilliant games to play in, I’ve enjoyed every minute of them.”
Who will play? There won’t be ten or eleven changes. That would have required players such as Tom Anderson and Fredrik Ulvestad to be involved but they both played a full ninety minutes in the under-23 game at Gawthorpe on Monday.
Nick Pope I’m expecting to see in goal and there should be games for the two new full backs, Phil Bardsley and Charlie Taylor, and the likes of Kevin Long, Ashley Westwood, Jon Walters and Ashley Barnes.
Chris Wood? I’m not convinced he’ll start although he could make the bench.
We could line up: Nick Pope, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, James Tarkowski, Charlie Taylor, Scott Arfield, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Robbie Brady, Jon Walters, Ashley Barnes. Subs from: Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, Ben Mee, Stephen Ward, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Steven Defour, Jeff Hendrick, Sam Vokes, Chris Wood.
Our opponents beat Coventry to win a place in the second round and they will be making changes too. Darragh Lenihan and Ryan Nyambe remain out while Bradley Dack, the summer signing from Gillingham, went off injured at Bradford City and has been ruled out. To add to that, Corry Evans and Craig Conway have just returned from injuries and might not be risked.
Manager Tony Mowbray has said he’ll pick a team to give them the best chance of winning but also admitted that he has to consider Saturday’s home game against MK in League One. “I think we have to have half an eye on that game,” he said. “Ultimately we will get judged on our league position as the season goes on.
“We will pick a team that we feel can be really competitive and give ourselves the best chance to win but also a team that will give us the best chance of beating MK on Saturday.”
Their team last Saturday at Bradford City was: David Raya Martin, Paul Caddis, Elliott Ward, Charlie Mulgrew, Derrick Williams, Elliott Bennett, Richard Smallwood, Corry Evans, Craig Conway, Bradley Dack, Dominic Samuel. Subs: Jayson Leutwiler, Scott Wharton, Harrison Chapman, Ben Gladwin, Marcus Antonsson, Pete Whittingham, Danny Graham.Share this page :