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Having won last Friday in Switzerland, and followed that up with a 1-1 draw at Morecambe last Tuesday, Burnley’s pre-season takes us across the county border into Yorkshire and a friendly against Bradford City at Valley Parade.

I write Valley Parade, but this ground has had so many different sponsors over the years that I jokingly used to refer to it as Bradford & Bingley Pulse Flamingo Land Pension Fund Intersonic Coral Windows Valley Parade and we can now add more to that as from today with them announcing a new deal that will see the ground renamed to the Northern Commercials Stadium at Valley Parade. I think we’ll just settle for Valley Parade from here on in.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson could play his first Burnley game
Johann Berg Gudmundsson could play his first Burnley game

Our opponents have been in Scotland all week and have returned just today ahead of their first home friendly and that means a first home game back in charge for manager Stuart McCall who starts his second spell having replaced Bolton bound Phil Parkinson.

McCall said today: “It will be very special to walk out again at Valley Parade but we know Saturday’s game will be a tough encounter.

“We want to give the guys some more game time but, equally, we would like to be positive and get the lads feeling good about how they are playing. There were a lot of good performances at St. Johnstone on Tuesday night but we know getting the win isn’t the be all and end all at this stage of the season.

“Unlike Tuesday, we will probably have certain sustained periods when we don’t have the ball and we have to work hard out of possession. It might give us an opportunity to try one or two things out with the shape a bit.

“Burnley are a fantastic side and they have a very experienced manager in Sean Dyche. This match will be a good test for us and great preparation for the start of the season in a couple of weeks.”

James Meredith and James Hanson are expected to sit the game out with minor injuries but Bradford City, now under new German ownership, have signed goalkeeper Rouven Sattelmaier today. The 28-year-old was most recently with Stuttgarter Kickers and has impressed while on trial.

On the subject of goalkeepers, Burnley have more to select from this week than they did last. Tom Heaton returned to training last Monday and we signed Nick Pope from Charlton on the following day.

With Sam Vokes now the only player to return to training, much will depend on whether Sean Dyche feels that Heaton, Stephen Ward and new signing Johann Berg Gudmundsson are ready to play. All three were involved in the Euros and all three have been training with the squad this week.

No outfield player has, as yet, played more than 45 minutes, but that could start to change soon as we get closer to the season. It would be no surprise to see some players get around an hour at Bradford.

We’ll select from: Tom Heaton, Nick Pope, Paul Robinson, Matt Lowton, Tendayi Darikwa, Michael Keane, Ben Mee, James Tarkowski, Kevin Long, Tom Anderson, Stephen Ward, Cameron Dummigan, Danny Lafferty, Dean Marney, Fredrik Ulvestad, David Jones, Aiden O’Neill, Scott Arfield, George Boyd, Chris Long, Michael Kightly, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Ashley Barnes, Lukas Jutkiewicz, Rouwen Hennings, Andre Gray.

The last time we played Bradford City in a pre-season game was just a year ago when goals from Lukas Jutkiewicz and Matt Taylor gave us a 2-0 win at home in the last game before the league season kicked off.

But it is now seven years since we last played at Valley Parade and it was our first ever game as a Premier League club following the Wembley win against Sheffield United. Bradford City was the first pre-season game that year and despite taking the lead through Graham Alexander, we were beaten 2-1 in front of over 2,000 Burnley fans who made Valley Parade look more claret and blue than claret and amber.

The game saw Burnley debuts for Tyrone Mears, Steven Fletcher and David Edgar although we were promised exciting signings to come in the following days with the capture of full backs Brian Easton three days later and Richard Eckersley after a further 24 hours.

Our team that day was: Brian Jensen (Diego Penny ht), Tyrone Mears (Remco van der Schaaf 63), Clarke Carlisle (Michael Duff ht), Steven Caldwell (David Edgar ht), Stephen Jordan (Christian Kalvenes ht), Wade Elliott, Kevin McDonald, Graham Alexander (Joey Gudjonsson ht), Robbie Blake, Martin Paterson (Steven Thompson ht, Adam Kay 69), Steven Fletcher (Jay Rodriguez ht).

Kick off tomorrow is 3 p.m. with admission via payment at the turnstiles. We then move on to Horwich next Tuesday to play the cash strapped League One club who some would have you believe are ten years ahead of us.

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