The highly anticipated 2012/13 football season will finally get underway for the Clarets this weekend with a tasty home derby against Bolton.
Burnley v Bolton Wanderers
3.00pm – Turf Moor – NPower Championship
It will be the first time Owen Coyle has returned to the Turf in a league game since his acrimonious walkout over two years ago and the Scot will no doubt receive a hostile reception from a bumper crowd who once adored him.
After Burnley’s comprehensive 3-1 win against Port Vale on Tuesday the Clarets will be boosted by the return of strikers Sam Vokes and Martin Paterson who have both returned from International duty with their respective countries.
Other than a possible tweak up front it will be expected that Eddie Howe will stick with the majority of the starting XI which comfortably dispatched the League Two outfit on Tuesday.
Marvin Bartley will definitely miss out as he recovers from the ankle injury which plagued him all summer and Keith Treacy remains a doubt.
For Bolton the fixture provides their first competitive game of the new season after receiving a bye into the second round of the Capital One Cup. However, Burnley will need to hit top form early in what should be a tough start against a side highly-fancied for an immediate return to the top flight.
Surprisingly, Coyle’s men have managed to keep many of their key players from last season with the likes of Martin Petrov and Stuart Holden expected to feature prominently this season. Shrewd summer recruits in the shape of Andy Lonergan, Matt Mills and Keith Andrews will all be expected to start on Saturday and there could also be starting berths for ex-Clarets Chris Eagles and Tyrone Mears.
The Manager: Owen Coyle
The man needs no introduction to us Burnley fans after his disgraceful walkout on the club in our sole Premier League season. The man brought in to replace Steve Cotterill in the autumn of 2007 seemed to be a perfect fit for the Clarets right up until his ‘Judas-like’ betrayal to the club. After helping us into the Premier League via the play-offs in 2009, the Scot jumped ship half through the season taking over his ‘beloved’ Wanderers and helped them preserve their Premier League status.
Despite positive strides in his first full season – which included an FA Cup semi-final, things gradually started to go down hill for the club culminating in their relegation from the Premier League last season. Supposedly linked to big clubs only 12 months ago, Coyle will need a positive start to try and rebuild his once glowing reputation within the footballing world.
Form: LDWLW [pre-season]
Bolton’s pre-season form has been patchy to say the least. Steady wins over Morecambe and Tranmere struggle to overshadow a disappointing 3-0 defeat to a Portsmouth squad full of trialists and a 2-0 loss to lowly Scottish outfit Hamilton. As we all know though, pre-season results rarely give an indication into a team’s form so Burnley cannot underestimate their opponents come Saturday.
Dangerman: Kevin Davies
Love him or hate him, no-one can dispute the Bolton captain’s positive influence on his clubs fortunes over the past decade after developing into one of the most robust and feared strikers in the English game. Renowned for his bustling style, the former England cap will be key to his sides quest to gain an immediate return to the top flight. Now aged 35, the former Rovers man will be hoping to continue using his sheer physical strength to bully Championship defences and create opportunities for his team mates.
Just For Fun
Did You Know?
The club were given their nickname of The Trotters because one of their former grounds was located near to a pig farm, where stray balls would end up in the pig pens!