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1819 burnley turf moor 04 1000x500The away trips in pre-season are done and dusted and Turf Moor is ready to open for the first time tonight since the end of last season for the first of two home friendlies against Olympique Gymnaste Club (OGC) Nice.

Home friendlies against European opposition have become a regular part of pre-season in recent years. The first of these games since Sean Dyche became manager was against Sparta Rotterdam in 2013 and a year later, following promotion, we played Celta Vigo and Hellas Verona.

In 2016, we played Real Sociedad with Celta Vigo returning in 2017 when we also played half a game against Hannover 96. Last year, either side of the Europa League games against Aberdeen, we played both Montpellier and Espanyol and following tonight’s game we will face Parma this Saturday.

nice badgeOGC Nice have had a busy pre-season and will be playing the second of their two games in the UK before playing one final pre-season game in Germany. Their pre-season started at home with a 3-2 win against PSV Eindhoven which was followed by a 3-1 defeat against FCThun.

They’ve since been on their travels to Standard Liège and Boavista before transferring to England and St. George’s Park where they have been based. They were beaten 1-0 by Cardiff last Saturday and, after tonight’s game, will play one more friendly against Wolfsburg before returning home to kick off the Ligue 1 season with a home game against Amiens on the day we face Southampton in the Premier League.

Managed by former Arsenal and Manchester City midfielder Patrick Vieira, they finished seventh in the league last season and they will provide us with a tough test this evening.

Sean Dyche will use these two games this week to further plan for the season although he’s expected to still be without Nick Pope, Ben Gibson and Robbie Brady who are all nursing minor injuries, and that adds to the continued absence of Steven Defour who, it is understood, is not close to a return.

He said ahead of tonight’s game: “All the teams we have played offer a different challenge. I think we’ve delivered well. It’s not all about results, but it’s nice when you get results from good delivery of performance.

“I think that’s been good so far and now we have two teams coming, slightly in advance of the others in terms of their make up and the leagues they play in. It’s a different kind of challenge, but we are only looking towards getting ready for the big kick off, that’s the main thing.”

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