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southampton 100x500After three short away trips in the north west to Liverpool, Everton and Manchester City, it’s back to the early starts tomorrow for the long trip down to the south coast to face Southampton.

There will be a minute’s silence before the game. It’s the final game before Remembrance Day but also Southampton will be holding their annual minute’s silence to remember those involved with the club who have passed away in the last year, something they do each year at the home game closest to All Saints Day. It was Southampton staging this annually that prompted the introduction of the same thing at Burnley in January 2013 and ours last season was prior to the fixture against Southampton at home. This season it will be ahead of the home game against Manchester United on 20th January.

It’s also the last game before we are subjected to yet another international break, the third of the season. The previous break came after the 1-0 win at Goodison Park against Everton and since we’ve had three games with one won, one drawn and one lost.

Those results have taken us into seventh place in the Premier League with only the considered top six above us although it is very tight and our opponents tomorrow Southampton, while three places below us, would go above us should they beat us.

A trip to Southampton in recent years has brought games with a lot of connections. Four seasons ago we played them in the FA Cup when Southampton fans Danny Ings and Sam Vokes scored for us with Burnley fan Jay Rodriguez scoring for Southampton. More recently, we’ve also come up against Charlie Austin who scored two of their goals last season in the 3-1 win for them at St. Mary’s.

Tomorrow, we’ll have Jack Cork in our team. He played for Southampton against us in the Championship during the 2011/12 season and will now play in the game on the opposite side having returned to Turf Moor last summer from Swansea.

He’s been an ever present in the Burnley team this season and been part of our good start to the season. “It’s been a great start,” he said. “If we had set targets at the beginning of the season, we would have set nothing like this.”

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Looking forward to his return to St. Mary’s, he added: “Every game is a tough game and Southampton away is one of the hard away games you look at in the league and it’s going to be tough for us again.

“I’m looking forward to going back. It was a great club for me and probably one of the highlights of my career, getting promoted to the Premier League with Southampton.”

Cork was with the Saints for three and a half seasons and he’s played more games for them than any of his other clubs. But he’s very much a Burnley player now and will be looking to finish on the winning side against the Saints for the first time in his career tomorrow.

Sean Dyche is expected to have Chris Wood available again and Nahki Wells has also travelled after grabbing a hat trick for the under-23s last night in the Premier League Cup win against Colchester at Curzon Ashton. Steven Defour, who came off just after the goal in the Newcastle win with a groin problem, is expected to be fit.

Things generally are looking up in terms of injuries although, of course, we are still without Tom Heaton, Dean Marney and Jon Walters.

I can’t imagine we’ll change much from the team that beat Newcastle last Monday although I would expect Wood to come back in prior to him jetting out to New Zealand for the World Cup play-off games against Peru.

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

Southampton ended last season in eighth place but for the second summer in succession they had a change of manager. A year earlier, Ronald Koeman opted for a move to Everton, the job he’s just lost, but his replacement, Claude Puel, lasted only a year before he was replaced by Argentinean Mauricio Pellegrino.

On the player front, the big sale was that of Rodriguez to West Brom while the two big signings were Mario Lemina and Wesley Hoedt from Juventus and Lazio, the pair costing in excess of £33 million between them.

Like us, they look tight enough at the back but have struggled to score too many goals. We’ve both scored nine times while they’ve conceded ten goals, one more than us. Manolo Gabbiadini has scored three of those with no other player having netted more than one.

Lemina is the one player ruled out this weekend but if they are looking for goals, who knows, Pellegrino might give Austin his first start of the season; he’s made seven appearances so far in the Premier League from the substitutes’ bench. He missed the last game against Brighton but is fit to return.

For the game at Brighton, which ended 1-1, they lined up: Fraser Forster, Virgil van Dijk, Wesley Hoedt, Ryan Bertrand, Cedric Soares, Dusan Tadic, Oriol Romeu, James Ward-Prowse, Sofiane Boufal, Steven Davis, Manolo Gabbiadini. Subs: Alex McCarthy, Maya Yoshida, Nathan Redmond, Jack Stephens, Pierre-Emile Højberg, Sam McQueen, Shane Long.




It was the third away game of the 2016/17 Premier League season and we travelled to Southampton having lost the first two, at Chelsea and Leicester, 3-0. This one ended 3-1 but it was a desperately disappointing performance with our first away goal of the season coming from a penalty that hardly looked worthy of a spot kick.

It was awarded by Mike Dean who had something of a nightmare when it came to getting penalty decisions correct. He refused the most blatant one of all, for a foul by Virgil van Dijk on Johann Berg Gudmundsson, but then gave Southampton a shocker against Gudmundsson for a clear dive and then us a soft one for a foul on Ben Mee.

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The highlight of the game for us was probably an early save from Tom Heaton to deny Charlie Austin (pictured). It was a magnificent save and one I consider to be the best he made all season.

Who knows? Things could have been different had Dean given us that clear penalty in a goalless first half, but Southampton certainly took advantage after the break. Austin gave them the lead five minutes in and on 66 minutes he scored his second from the penalty spot to take them 3-0 up.

But overall, this really was a poor showing from the Clarets and, despite the poor decisions, we could have no complaints over the result.

The teams were;

Southampton: Fraser Forster, Cuco Martina, José Fonte, Virgil van Dijk, Matt Targett (Sam McQueen 14), Jordy Clasie, Oriol Romeu, Steven Davis, Dusan Tadic, Nathan Redmond (James Ward-Prowse 88), Charlie Austin (Jay Rodriguez 71). Subs not used: Alex McCarthy, Maya Yoshida, Pierre-Emile Højberg, Shane Long.

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, Michael Keane, Ben Mee, Stephen Ward, Johann Berg Gudmundsson (Michael Kightly 70), Jeff Hendrick, Dean Marney, Steven Defour (Aiden O’Neill 41), George Boyd (Patrick Bamford 81), Sam Vokes. Subs not used: Paul Robinson, Jon Flanagan, James Tarkowski, Scott Arfield.

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