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1617 burnley turf moor 02 1000x500On Sunday 21st May, 72 days ago to be exact, Burnley’s 2016/17 season ended with a 2-1 home defeat against West Ham United, and tonight the Turf Moor doors open again for the first of our two prestigious international friendlies, this one against Spanish La Liga club Celta Vigo.

Supporters who have not travelled to any of the away games in pre-season are likely to get the opportunity for a first look at the four new signings with manager Sean Dyche again set to utilise his squad.

“Tonight will certainly still be about minutes for some,” he said. “That will still be about making sure people are right and fit and well. By Saturday, it’s not a given that the team which starts will be the one for the beginning of the season, but it’s a sign, not always, but usually a sign of roughly where we are thinking who plays in certain slots. But Tuesday will be different.”

All of those new signings have played at Turf Moor before. Charlie Taylor was in the Leeds side we beat 1-0 in April 2016 with a first minute goal from Scott Arfield as we moved towards the title while Jon Walters has played on the Turf for both Ipswich and Stoke.

The other two signings, while playing against us, have also worn the claret and blue in home games. Jack Cork’s last home appearance for Burnley was a 1-1 home draw against Cardiff in May 2011. He lined up in a Burnley team that read: Brian Jensen, Tyrone Mears, David Edgar, Andre Bikey, Danny Fox, Ross Wallace, Wade Elliott, Jack Cork, Chris McCann, Chris Eagles, Jay Rodriguez.

As for the latest recruit Phil Bardsley, it’s now over 11 years since he last played in a Burnley home game. We beat QPR 1-0 with an Andy Gray goal in April 2006 and the team that day was: Brian Jensen, Phil Bardsley, Michael Duff, Frank Sinclair, Jon Harley, Alan Mahon, James O’Connor, Chris McCann, Graham Branch, Andy Gray, Michael Ricketts.

We might not have had these home games. Dyche explained: “Because we have changed as a club we do get offered away games abroad, but we have chosen these two home games against high quality opposition.

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“It’s good to play these types of games and to have some fixtures at Turf Moor so more fans can get the chance to watch. We are still working towards the start of the season and using the game time appropriately, but it also gives the supporters the opportunity to see the new players as part of the squad.”

Tonight’s opponents are no strangers to the Turf. They were pre-season opponents three years ago in a game that ended 2-2 with Lukas Jutkiewicz twice giving Burnley the lead. The first came when he got on the end of a superb pass from Ross Wallace to beat the goalkeeper at the near post and he finished well from an Ashley Barnes cross for the second. Celta Vigo’s goals that night were scored by Álex López and Nolito who left them for Manchester City a year ago and has now returned to Spain with Sevilla.

Three years ago the manager was Eduardo Berizzo. He’d just replaced Barcelona bound Luis Enrique. In charge now is former Barcelona and Sevilla goalkeeper Juan Carlos Unzué who worked as assistant to Enrique at both Celta and Barcelona.

Celta ended last season in 13th place in La Liga but had an excellent season in European competition, reaching the semi-finals of the Europa League. They got through their group in second place behind eventual runners-up Ajax and then recorded wins against Shakhtar Donetsk, Krasnodar and Genk before losing to eventual winners Manchester United in the semi-final.

They are in England for a short time as part of their pre-season and were beaten 2-1 at Brentford three days ago. On the theme of former loan players returning, as with Cork and Bardsley, their goal at Brentford was scored by John Guidetti (pictured) who himself enjoyed a loan at Burnley in the 2010/11 season.

He’d impressed Brian Laws in a Barclays Premier Reserve League game for Manchester City in the previous season. Laws brought him in on loan in November 2010 and he made five appearances for us before he was recalled by City following a change of manager at Turf Moor.

Guidetti’s last Turf Moor appearance came on the day that Laws’ fate was sealed with a 2-0 home defeat against Scunthorpe. He played in this Burnley team: Lee Grant, Tyrone Mears, Clarke Carlisle, Andre Bikey, Brian Easton, Wade Elliott, Jack Cork, Graham Alexander, Ross Wallace, Jay Rodriguez, John Guidetti.

They’ve brought a big squad with them and they lined up at Brentford: Ruben Blanco, Hugo Mallo, Andreu Fontás, Pape Cheikh Diop, John Guidetti, Pione Sisto, Claudio Beauvue, Stanislav Lobotka, Sergi Gomez, Brais Méndes, Diego Pampin. Subs: Sergio Álvarez, Iván Villar, David Costas, Nemanja Radoja, Maxi Gόmez, Iago Aspas, Jozabed, Andrew Hjulsager, Daniel Wass, Jonny, Gustavo Cabral, FAcundo Roncaglia, Diego Alende.

Kick off tonight at Turf Moor is 7:45 p.m. and the club have warned of potential long queues at the ticket office ahead of the game. Please note, admission to Turf Moor is by ticket. There are no cash turnstiles.

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