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Newcastle United are our visitors tomorrow as we look to put those three successive defeats against Crystal Palace, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur behind us and get moving back up the table.

Everything was looking good when we made our way home from the Watford game. We’d put a run of three successive defeats behind us by beating West Ham and home and then Watford at Vicarage Road, both by 3-0 scorelines.

Then came the huge disappointing of losing at home against Crystal Palace which was followed up by two big defeats at the hands of Manchester City and then Spurs who hit us for five a week ago at their new stadium.

It’s all left us in 13th place in the table. That in itself is acceptable but we are now only three points ahead of Southampton who currently sit in 18th place, the dreaded relegation position.

We’ve suddenly been hit with a flurry of injuries which haven’t helped. Full backs Phil Bardsley and Charlie Taylor, who have done so well since returning to the side, were both missing at Spurs as were Ashley Westwood, Ashley Barnes and Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson. Only Bardsley, of that group, had started the Manchester City game.

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One player who hasn’t missed a game through injury this season is central defender James Tarkowski and speaking ahead of tomorrow’s game he said: “We had two very good games where we had a 6-0 aggregate and then on the back of it to lose three on the bounce, and the way we lost them, has been difficult and very contrasting.”

Tarkowski, who made his Burnley debut on the last occasion when Tim Robinson, in charge tomorrow, last refereed us, has now made 105 league appearances for the club, of which 101 have come in the Premier League. He’s not looking beyond tomorrow though and added: “Not to pick up any points in a week is always tough but we will be looking to turn it around this weekend and put three points on the board.”

Now to that injury list. We know Guðmundsson is still out of the reckoning, as is Kevin Long and it is very unlikely that Taylor will feature. That leaves Bardsley, Westwood and Barnes and I think there is a chance that all of them could return. It seems Barnes is going to have to be nursed through things but having only featured for around half an hour in the last two games it’s likely that he could play. Westwood, I think, is the most likely to be back while Bardsley could do and I think Sean Dyche hinted at it.

The team could be: Nick Pope, Phil Bardsley, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Erik Pieters, Jeff Hendrick, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil, Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood. Subs from: Joe Hart, Matt Lowton, Ben Gibson, Danny Drinkwater, Aaron Lennon, Robbie Brady, Jay Rodriguez, Matěj Vydra.

Newcastle is often considered a car crash of a club under Mike Ashley and there were fears that things could go horribly wrong this season when manager Rafa Benitez decided to walk at the end of last season. Steve Bruce, a Geordie and a Magpie himself, took over but it was no an appointment that pleased the fans, but he currently has them in 11th place with 22 points from 16 games and that’s nine points more than they had at this stage last season.

They’ve only been beaten once at St. James’ Park, that on the opening day of the season against Arsenal when they lost 1-0. They have been beaten five times on the road, once more than us, but they have won the other three away games at Tottenham, West Ham and Sheffield United. Like us, they’ve suffered a 5-0 defeat on the road, theirs came at Leicester but they arrive at Burnley on a run of three games without defeat having followed up a very creditable 2-2 home draw against Manchester City with wins against Sheffield United away and then Southampton at home when they came from behind to win 2-1.

They’ve found goalscoring difficult. They’ve scored just 17 with those goals shared by ten different players with Jonjo Shelvey having scored five of them which includes one in each of those three recent undefeated games.

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Manager Steve Bruce, like Dyche, has injury problems. Matt Ritchie has been out since August and he’s joined on that injured list by Ciaran Clark, Jamaal Lascelles, Sung-yueng Ki and Allan Saint-Maximin (pictured) who played for OCG Nice at Burnley in pre-season. Newcastle benefit from the pace of Saint-Maximin and Bruce said jokingly of his injury: “He pulled his hamstring doing 38.6 km/hr in the 96th minute. I don’t think anybody’s run that fast in the Premier League before.”

Meanwhile Shelvey and Miguel Almirόn, with calf and hamstring injuries respectively, are to be assessed after Friday training to see whether they can be considered. It’s likely that Andy Carroll could get a start with Joelinton potentially playing on the right hand side of a three.

Their team against Southampton was: Martin Dúbravka, Javier Manquillo, Federico Fernández, Ciaran Clark, Paul Dummett, Jetro Willems, Miguel Almirόn, Isaac Hayden, Jonjo Shelvey, Allan Saint-Maximin, Joelinton. Subs: Karl Darlow, Fabian Schär, Emil Krafth, Christian Atsu, Sean Longstaff, Andy Carroll, Dwight Gayle.

 

LAST TIME THEY WERE HERE

 

Newcastle won this fixture 2-1 last season and in doing so won at Turf Moor for the first time since Boxing Day 1975. Back in the 1970s it had ended 1-0 but last season they beat us 2-1 when Sam Vokes’ final goal for the Clarets counted for nothing.

All the goals came in the first half and Newcastle were two up after just a quarter of the game. In a game that was delayed until 8:30 p.m. because of former referee Eddie Wolstenholme suffering a heart attack, one from which he thankfully has fully recovered after surgery, we were behind in front of the Sky cameras after only four minutes.

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It was an unfortunate goal. The effort was going wide but was deflected into his own goal by Ben Mee but the second was poor from us as Ciaran Clark was allowed to head home from a corner.

Five minutes before the break, Vokes headed home brilliantly from just inside the box after a ball up to him from Mee but any hopes of a comeback in the second half were dashed. We dominated after the break for long periods but failed to create anything like a clear cut chance.

Besides this being a last Burnley goal for Vokes, it was also a final home league appearance for Steven Defour. He’d come back into the side for the game at Manchester City but his final league appearance was to come in the next game at Crystal Palace.

The teams were;

Burnley: Joe Hart, Matt Lowton, Kevin Long, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Aaron Lennon, Steven Defour (Jeff Hendrick 82), Jack Cork, Robbie Brady (Ashley Barnes 83), Chris Wood, Sam Vokes. Subs not used: Tom Heaton, Phil Bardsley, Ben Gibson, Ashley Westwood, Matěj Vydra.

Newcastle: Martin Dúbravka, DeAndre Yedlin, Fabian Schär, Federico Fernández, Ciaran Clark, Matt Ritchie, Kenedy (Isaac Hayden 90), Mohamed Diamé, Sung-yueng Ki, Ayoze Pérez Gutiérrez, Salomόn Rondόn (Joselu 71). Subs not used: Freddie Woodman, Christian Atsu, Jonjo Shelvey, Jacob Murphy, Javier Manquillo.

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