Who Are Ya?: Burnley

Last updated : 15 October 2006 By Tony Scholes
The Gameplan
We've become very much an attack minded side this season, as the 'goals for' column will show, so you can expect Burnley to be quick off the mark and trying to grab the early initiative. We'll get the ball up to the front men who in turn will look to bring the wide players into the game.

We have much better options in forward positions than in previous years and that enables us to change things if it is not going well. We've got big strong strikers and the options of pace as well. It more than makes up for not having a twenty goals per season striker - unfortunately we sell them when we have them, but a Blake or an Akinbiyi added to this squad now would be just perfect.

It remains to be the size of the squad. Although bigger than in previous seasons, it is still the smallest in the league and at the moment totals just twenty full time professionals with two of them unavailable as can be seen below.

Goalkeeper Danny Coyne is out injured, but that's been the case for over a year now. He sustained a cruciate ligament injury in September last year and is now getting close to playing again. Only this week the club confirmed he could go out on loan to get some games in.

Captain and central defender Wayne Thomas is suspended, serving the second game of a four match ban after being sent off against Southampton. He's hardly a crowd favourite and most see his absence as a boost.

Player by Player
Team in 4-4-2:
Brian Jensen – came into the side following Coyne's injury and is our only fit goalkeeper. Capable of making brilliant saves, including the last minute stop from Stuart Elliott in the fixture last year.

Frank Sinclair – has got the captaincy back and is filling in at right back which has proved to be a problem position for us. He's an excellent defender, so positive in everything he does.

Michael Duff – winning the fans over after a difficult time at full back, he'll be back full of confidence after Northern Ireland's recent good results.

John McGreal – cultured central defender, now in his mid 30s. Just wish we'd had him for the last ten years and not two. Always looks so cool no matter how much pressure we are under.

Jon Harley – had a mixed time since joining us last year but has been in some decent form recently. He's better going forward and is one of the main players at set pieces.

Wade Elliott – signed after impressing in an FA Cup tie for Bournemouth against us two years ago. He can be a frustrating player and doesn't want to take his full back on often enough, but he is a very good crosser of a ball.

Micah Hyde – placed on the transfer list in the summer but he's won his place back in the side and come off the list. Can be too casual at times but on his day is a top central midfielder.

James O'Connor – in the form of his life recently which will hopefully continue. He must be difficult to play against, he covers just about every blade of grass in a game. An on song O'Connor makes a big difference.

Steve Jones – a striker playing wide just now and a player who can be a bit hit and miss. He's got bags of pace and had his best game yet for us last time out against Norwich.

Andy Gray – now beginning to look a very good signing. He's currently in good goalscoring form for us and looking like the player he was at Sheffield United a couple of years ago.

Gifton Noel-Williams – Gifton was booed on a month ago. He was on the transfer list, no one could remember a good game for him and then he got himself a hat trick. He's gone from zero to hero and is showing form right now way above anything we thought possible.

Alan Mahon – only lost his place because of an injury, he'll soon be back in the starting line up but for now he'll be on the bench. Steve Cotterill says of him that he makes us play better football. On form he would make a difference to any side in this division.

Stephen Foster – defender signed from Crewe in the summer but we've seen little of him and he's made just a hand full of substitute appearances.

Chris McCann – teenage Irish midfielder from Dublin, looks to have a good career ahead of him but is still learning the game and shows at times the lack of consistency you would expect.

Garreth O'Connor – illness has restricted him this season to one sub appearance, but he's a midfielder with an eye for goal.

Kyle Lafferty – just past his 19th birthday and now a regular in the Northern Ireland side. He's had to settle for a place on the bench recently.

Tony Scholes is editor of the Clarets Mad website.