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1718 burnley turf moor 01 1000x500That’s it; pre-season came to an end today with a second successive home victory although today’s 2-0 win against Parma was not quite as straight forward and simple as the 6-1 victory against OGC Nice last Tuesday.

I would imagine Parma and their fans, 52 of them testing out the new plastic seats in the away end, might have been impressed with the weather with the temperatures closer to what you might expect there rather than here, but it enabled us to pull in a crowd of not too far short of 5,000.

As expected, Nick Pope, wearing his new number 1 jersey, was passed fit to play having missed the last three pre-season games but there was no sign of defenders James Tarkowski or Kevin Long on either the team sheet or the subs’ list, and as you can imagine that led to plenty of speculation in and around Turf Moor, particularly with Tarky given what’s happening at Leicester.

Sean Dyche doesn’t seem to be overly concerned that he might be going, and he was quick to explain after the game that it was nothing more than a tight thigh while Long was nursing a sore groin, both of which he expects to have cleared up by next week.

1920 burnley jay rodriguez signs 500x500We saw a first half with not too much incident although Pope was the busier of the two goalkeepers with the Clarets failing to make too much impact against a team who didn’t look to be three weeks away from the start of their season. Probably the closest we did come was when Chris Wood latched on to a ball from Matt Lowton. It would have been sensational had he been able to get it down but he could only volley it over the bar.

More significantly, we were forced into two changes during that first half. Robbie Brady suffered again with the rib injury that has affected his pre-season while Jack Cork was withdrawn with what appeared to be a groin injury after he appeared to slip.

It all changed in the second half with two goals in a four minute spell early in the half and both went to Jay Rodriguez following balls in from the right. He could hardly miss the first one as Aaron Lennon, who had an impressive afternoon, saw his cross deflected right in front of Jay who had no more to do than stoop to head home from the closest of range.

The second was undoubtedly a good finish from a Matt Lowton cross, this time getting onto the ball beyond the far post and heading it back across the goalkeeper.

Again, as is often the case in pre-season, we made several changes, a further six to be exact. It always disrupts the game but Parma never really looked likely to get back in the game and, one save apart, we never really looked as though we would let them back into the game.

My first game this pre-season was at Crewe and there as absolutely nothing to get excited about there but we are looking as ready as you can ever look ahead of a new season and I’m just pleased I’m not the one who has to select the eleven to start against Southampton next week.

The teams were;

Burnley: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton (Phil Bardsley 73), Ben Gibson (Jimmy Dunne 67), Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor (Erik Pieters 67), Aaron Lennon (Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson 67), Jeff Hendrick (Josh Benson 73), Jack Cork (Ashley Westwood 38), Robbie Brady (Dwight McNeil 32), Jay Rodriguez (Nahki Wells 73), Chris Wood (Ashley Barnes ht). Subs not used: Joe Hart, Adam Legzdins, Matěj Vydra.

Parma: Luigi Sepe, Kastriot Dermaku, Yann Karamoh (Mattia Sprocati 57), Gastόn Brugman (Matteo Scozzarella 66), Vincent Laurini (Marcello Gazzola 57), Antonino Barillà (Gianni Murani 85), Bruno Alves, Riccardo Gagliolo (Simone Iacoponi ht), Juraj Kucka (José Machin 65), Dejan Kulusevski (Fabio Ceravolo 85), Roberto Inglese (Andreas Cornelius 57). Subs not used: Simone Colombi, Fabrizio Alastra, Luigi Scaglia, Giacomo Ricci.

Referee: Paul Tierney (Wigan).

Attendance: 4,846 (including 52 from Parma).

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