Clarets move on to the Forest
The pre-season schedule got underway at Shamrock Rovers two weeks ago today, we then played against Alfreton Town and Kidderminster Harriers and having stepped up to play Preston North End last Tuesday we now move on to Nottingham Forest tomorrow before playing our two international friendlies at home.
Our links with Forest over recent years have been beating them at home, drawing at the City Ground and spending many wasted hours trying to get Henri Lansbury to Turf Moor, getting as close as him sitting at Turf Moor waiting to sign before the then owner Fawaz Al Hasawi decided he had to stay at Forest.
It’s all change now. No longer are they Kuwaiti owned. In May they were bought for a reported £50 million by a Greek shipping magnate by the name of Evangelos Marinakis. He already owns Greek champions Olympiakos and has vowed to return Forest to the Premier League they left in 1999. He also has a past and is still being monitored by UEFA having been investigated last year for match fixing.
They are also a club under recently appointed new management but that’s no real surprise. Steve Cotterill was in charge when he took over in 2012. He sacked him immediately and then hired and fired Sean O’Driscoll, Alex McLeish, Billy Davies, Gary Brazil, Stuart Pearce, Dougie Freedman, Paul Williams, Philippe Montanier and then Gary Brazil again before appointing Mark Warburton in March of this year.
Warburton resigned his position at Rangers amidst speculation that he was on his way to Forest. That became messy and for a while he was out of work although his trusted lieutenant Frank McParland was quickly installed at the City Ground as Sport Director.
He was soon followed by Warburton and his assistant David Weir and they have now been joined by Jim Stewart who had been goalkeeping coach at Ibrox for a decade and is now carrying out the same role at Forest.
They were close to dropping down into League One last season and escaped on the last day of the season, avoiding the drop on goal difference much to the delight of Burnley fans who enjoyed watching the Owen Coyle inspired Blackburn claim that final relegation place.
That, of course, means some rebuilding at Forest which has become a bigger job because of the departure of Britt Assombalonga who had a burning desire to play Premier League football and joined Championship club Middlesbrough for £15 million.
Barrie McKay has come in from Rangers with Jason Cummings arriving from Hibs. They have also added Lewis Walters from Leeds and Newcastle’s Daryl Murphy before splashing out on Burnley right-back Tendayi Darikwa a couple of days ago and then, yesterday, adding Andreas Bouchalakis from the owners other club Olympiakos.
A trip to Forest always looked likely once Warburton had moved in. He worked with Sean Dyche at Watford, as did McParland, and it was their relationship that led to us making the pre-season trip to Scotland in both 2015 and 2016 to play Rangers.
Tomorrow sees the last of our away friendlies and it is very likely that Dyche will shuffle the pack with players who started on the bench at Preston likely to get starts meaning we should see Stephen Ward, Steven Defour (pictured), Jack Cork, Ashley Barnes and Andre Gray in the starting line up.
The big question is whether we will see Phil Bardsley back in a Burnley shirt tomorrow. Dyche confirmed that he would undergo some physical tests with the sports science team before any decision would be made on whether he should be included.
Our squad certainly won’t get lost on the way there. All of Dyche, Ian Woan and Tony Loughlan were players there with Woan, a big crowd favourite, playing over 270 games for them from 1990 to 2000.
Dyche said: “It’s a great club to go to. Obviously we have got links there from many years ago, and also the staff there. They are good people and I trust them to go about their business in the right way, as Preston did. Yet again they are a good competitive Championship club.”
Kick off tomorrow is 3 p.m. Burnley supporters who travel without tickets will be able to gain admission by purchasing a ticket from the office behind the Brian Clough Stand and, on presentation of a 2017/18 Burnley season card, will be eligible for the reduced price of £10 adults, £5 concessions.Follow UpTheClarets:
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