Kilmarnock v Burnley, pre-season friendly, August 5, 2009
Without jumping the gun too much, Burnley’s start to life as a Premier League club has so far not been the best. The Clarets were, by manager Owen Coyle’s own admission, “one-paced” in the 2-1 home defeat at hands of Leeds United last Saturday, and having brought in only modest looking players during the transfer window, life in the top flight for the Lancastrians could yet prove a depressing, morale sapping experience.
Hoping to revive spirits before Burnley’s curtain-raiser against Stoke at the Britannia Stadium, Coyle will be demanding better for his charges during their upcoming two-match trip to Scotland.
A new addition could yet make their debut for Burnley in the match with Killie. Coyle is waiting on Ecuadorians side Independiente del Valle to rubber-stamp a deal for 19-year-old home-grown international winger Fernando Guerrero (pictured). A deal appears to be agreed in principle for a player who has an EU passport after spending six years with Real Madrid.
The Clarets are also hoping to have defender Michael Duff and last season’s top goalscorer Martin Paterson back fit for their Scottish tour following their respective pre-season absences due to hamstring and ankle problems.
Having impressed after coming on as substitutes against the Whites, Kevin McDonald and Richard Eckersley could well get a start on Thursday night, while more will be expected of Wade Elliott, Chris Eagles and Robbie Blake if the Clarets are to claim the win.
If Burnley are in a funk then their opponents Kilmarnock can empathise. Last Wednesday Killie were sunk 3-2 by Partick Thistle, and they followed that up with a weekend loss to Championship side Swansea, taking a 4-1 battering in Wales.
The major plus point of the match with the Swans was the debut of nomadic striker Mark Burchill, the forward having sealed his move to Rugby Park on Saturday morning before coming on as a halftime sub in the defeat. Outside of that there was little reason for manager Jim Jefferies to be happy, although the coach did manage to excuse the heavy loss by saying “we had a nightmare bus journey down to Wales on Friday and I think that took its toll on some of the boys.”
Kevin Kyle, Allan Russell, Craig Bryson and Alan Combe all missed the match last weekend through injury, although hopes are high that Bryson and Combe will recover in time for the visit of Burnley.
With no other injury news to report Killie will be optimistic that their blend of youthful talent -Jamie Hamill and Conor Sammon in particular - will be able to lead their team to victory alongside the more established pros of trickster Mehdi Taouil and serial goalscorer Danny Invincibile.
101predicts: Kilmarnock 1 - Burnley 1 (6/1)
Full match odds here.