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Yes, we’ve played Morecambe and Salford at Gawthorpe but tomorrow afternoon we will be stepping out onto the Boundary Park pitch to play League Two club Oldham Athletic.

I have nothing against Oldham, but I mention League Two to emphasise that we are three leagues above them. It’s a personal thing. Back in 1991, when the roles were reversed, I was parking my car at work just as another car was parking alongside me. It had one of those car football strips in the back window, as had mine, and I looked to see which club. “Oldham,” the driver said, having spotted me looking, and having seen mine, she added: “And we are a big team you will never play again.” I wish I could see that driver today.

But moving on to tomorrow, we take on an Oldham team that ended last season in 18th place in League Two but comfortably nine points ahead of relegated Southend. Much of that season was spent under the management of Harry Kewell but he was replaced in March by the experienced Keith Curle.

It will be their fourth pre-season game. They won 2-1 at Ashton United a week last Saturday. It was very much a day for trialists; Curle used eleven in total with one of them giving Oldham an early lead with forward Zak Dearnley scoring a late winner. It was the same three days later when they won 2-0 at Stalybridge; this time both goals were scored by trialists. Last Saturday, Hallam Hope scored in a 2-1 home defeat against Wigan.

The Wigan game was played behind closed doors but tomorrow there will be fans admitted with Burnley supporters getting the first opportunity to see the Clarets play an away game since the trip to Newcastle on Leap Day 2020.

We are only in the early stages of our pre-season so it will all be about Sean Dyche getting minutes into the players. That means we can expect a lot of substitutions although I’m sure Nathan Collins (pictured) and Wayne Hennessey will attract the most attention should they feature.

Last season the match previews often included a run down on the injury situation and we are still dealing with the remnants of that with all of Nick Pope, Kevin Long and Dale Stephens remaining out of the reckoning. Chris Wood is on Olympics duty with New Zealand while the recently married Matěj Vydra has been given an extended break after featuring in Euro 2020 for the Czech Republic. There has also been no sign of either Richard Nartey or Adam Phillips in the games so far.

That list of unavailable players is very likely to be reduced by the time the season kicks off. Meanwhile, expect most of those available to feature tomorrow.

 

LAST TIME WE WERE THERE

 

We played friendlies at Oldham in successive pre-seasons in 2010 and 2011. We won 2-1 in 2010 with goals from Steven Thompson and Leon Cort ahead of a trip to Singapore. A year on and the game at Boundary Park followed a somewhat less exotic trip to the southwest where we had played Bristol Rovers and Torquay.

I’d not been to those two games so I was looking forward to seeing new signing Ben Mee for the first time, but he wasn’t involved in the game; neither were any of Brian Jensen, Andre Bikey, David Edgar, Dean Marney, Chris McCann or Jay Rodriguez.

Mee had signed on loan from Manchester City in time to go on the two-match trip but while there, on the eve of the Torquay game, came news that Tyrone Mears and Chris Eagles, who had both wanted to leave for a year, were signing for Bolton and that prompted us to bring in another young City player on loan. Kieran Trippier it was, and he lined up just hours after he’d signed.

Oldham meanwhile had a James Tarkowski listed in the programme team list, but the 18-year-old defender didn’t feature in the game and looking back the big name in their line up was goalkeeper Sam Johnstone. He was starting a loan at Oldham in which he didn’t make it into the first team.

There isn’t much to report from the game other than me being confused when we conceded an early corner that saw new signing Trippier and Alex MacDonald take the posts. From the distance I couldn’t tell them apart.

It was a very dull game not helped by the referee who was stopping the game at every opportunity, but I did report two positives in Martin Paterson looking sharp up front and the performances of the two full backs Trippier and Danny Fox. I dared to suggest that Trippier, on first showing, looked a useful acquisition.

The teams were;

Oldham: Sam Johnstone, Carl Winchester, Zander Diamond, Jean Yves M’voto, Paul Black, Filipe Morais, Dean Furman, Trialist, Chris Taylor, Reuben Reid, Matt Smith. Subs: Matthew Carr, Luke Simpson, Kieran Lee, Kirk Millar, Connor Hughes, David Mellor, Ryan Brooke.

Burnley: Lee Grant (Jon Stewart 88), Kieran Trippier (Kevin Long 80), Michael Duff, Brian Easton, Danny Fox, Ross Wallace (Joe McKee 90), Wade Elliott, Marvin Bartley (Wes Fletcher 80), Alex MacDonald, Martin Paterson, Charlie Austin (Steven Hewitt 64). Subs not used: Alex-Ray Harvey, Dominic Knowles.

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