European adventure moves to Turkey
Having beaten Aberdeen last week, we now move on tonight to the 3rd qualifying round tie in the Europa League against İstanbul Başakşehir with this first leg away from home.
It’s going to be a crazy day across English football with the transfer window set to slam shut at 5 p.m. In the last two seasons we’ve had games on deadline day in January, against Leicester at home in 2017 and at Newcastle this year, with the Premier League opting to have full midweek fixture lists. This time it is just us playing and manager Sean Dyche doubted yesterday whether we would be able to add to our squad given the fact that the key people are now in Turkey for tonight’s game.
Dyche is busy preparing for tonight’s game which kicks off at 9 p.m. local time (7 p.m. BST). On the subject of the window, he said, referring to it clashing with tonight’s game: “This compromises it slightly. It’s an interesting day to have a game, but you never know.”
What he does know is that he’s without a number of his players. Two England goalkeepers, Tom Heaton and Nick Pope, are both out as are Steven Defour and Robbie Brady. You can now add Chris Wood to that while Aaron Lennon is a big doubt.
“We’re a little bit limited and we’ll have a few decisions to make,” the manager said. “Chris has an infection from a bit that has caused a reaction. Steven is behind Robbie at the moment, so we’re down to 17 players, but Joe and Ben (Gibson) have travelled for a reason, to be included if needed.”
He confirmed that latest signing Matěj Vydra had not made the trip. “He’s a bit behind the curve fitness wise,” Dyche said, presumably meaning he’s not Dyche fit. “He’s got to catch up, but he’s different to the strikers we’ve got. He offers a different positional sense, can work off the shoulder or in a number 10.”
It is also thought that Nahki Wells hasn’t made the trip. There has been speculation this week that he’s set to join Derby on loan. Nothing has been finalised although Football League clubs, while restricted to making permanent signings by today, can sign loan players until the end of August.
One player who is there in Turkey and is looking forward to at least another three years at Burnley is current team captain Ben Mee. He was under contract for just another year but, as we reported yesterday, after months of speculation he’s signed a new deal that will see him remain a Burnley player until the end of the 2020/21 season at least.
Many were suggesting that his absence from the team at the end of last season was down to him ready to move on, but Mee said yesterday: “I spoke to the gaffer last season and said I wanted to stay at the club. I enjoy it here and that’s the main thing for me.
“I enjoy the football, playing week in, week out and doing well on most occasions, being consistent. It’s nice to get it off my back now and be able to concentrate on the season and focus on that.”
Looking forward to leading Burnley out tonight, he added: “It’s exciting what’s going on at the club and this is a big part of it as well. It’s moving forward and growing massively. The change has been brilliant and hopefully we can carry it on and keep progressing. It’s exciting to be involved in.
“They have some experienced players, very good players, who have been around the game a long time. We expect a difficult game and a tough tie, but hopefully one we can come out the other side and get through.”
What will the team be tonight? It’s a difficult one. I’ve tried to list the 17 potential available outfield players and, should Lennon be ruled out, I’ve included both Dwight McNeil and Aiden O’Neill.
Dyche has hinted that neither Hart nor Gibson will start but both are likely to be on the bench.
Our team could be: Anders Lindegaard, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Stephen Ward, Jeff Hendrick, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson, Sam Vokes, Ashley Barnes. Subs from: Joe Hart, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Ben Gibson, Charlie Taylor, Aiden O’Neill, Dwight McNeil, Jon Walters.Share this page :