TEAM PREVIEW: Burnley – Alastair Campbell optimistic ahead of Championship opener

 

Despite some promise during the middle part of the season, Burnley couldn’t quite stay up on a smaller budget than their rivals despite a great effort and some big scalps along the way. Like their last visit to the Premier League, this one also lasted just a season but Sean Dyche has been retained and will be looking to bounce straight back despite the loss of striker Danny Ings.

Last Season: Premier League (19th)

Manager: Sean Dyche

 

Squad

GKs: Tom Heaton, Matt Gilks
DFs: Matthew Lowton, Daniel Lafferty, Michael Duff, Ben Mee, Luke O’Neill, Stephen Ward, Michael Keane, Kevin Long
MFs: Dean Marney, Michael Kightly, David Jones, Matt Taylor, Fredrik Ulvestad, George Boyd, Scott Arfield
FWs: Sam Vokes, Jelle Vossen, Marvin Sordwell, Lukas Jutkiewicz, Ashley Barnes, Chris Long

 

Transfers

In: Matthew Lowton (Aston Villa, Jelle Vossen (Genk), Chris Long (Everton), Daniel Agyei (AFC Wimbledon), Tendayi Darikwa (Chesterfield)

Out: Steven Reid (Retired), Danny Ings (Liverpool), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Ross Wallace (Sheffield Wednesday), Cameron Howieson (St. Mirren), Evan Galvin (Waterford), Jason Shackell (Derby County), Alex Cisak (Leyton Orient), Luke Conlan (St. Mirren – Loan)

 

First Six: Leeds United (A), Birmingham City (H), Ipswich Town (A), Brentford (H), Bristol City (A), Sheffield Wednesday (H)

Likely Lineup: (4-5-1) Heaton – Lowton, Keane, Duff, Mee – Boyd, Ulvestad, Jones, Arfield, Kightly – Vossen

 

 

A word from…Alastair Campbell

On his support for Burnley I grew up in Keighley in West Yorkshire. We used to go to Burnley, Bradford, Leeds, Huddersfield, all sorts of places but something about Burnley particularly grabbed me. I suppose the fact we were reigning league champions when I first saw them aged 4 might have had something to do with it. I followed them all the way to the bottom of the fourth division and a fair way back again.

On moving forward That is two years in the Premier League now in separate spells and there is no reason to think we can’t do it again. The terrible thing about last year is that there were a few teams above us who were way worse than us.

Jelle Vossen certainly has a big job to do. I would hope at some point there will be another striker coming in to strengthen the squad. I don’t think Danny Ings was as effective last year as he had been in the Championship and when you look at the size of the Liverpool squad and the biggish names up front I think he could struggle to make an impact.

On Sean Dyche and new recruits He deserves that support. He did a great job to get us up and he did a good job last season with a wage bill that most Premier League managers couldn’t cope with.

I saw Matt Lowton in the friendly at Rangers and he looked pretty good. I think in many ways Kieran Trippier was a bigger loss than Danny Ings. I didn’t make the Michael Duff testimonial because I was away but the new left back from Chesterfield seems to have gone down well. But it is pretty clear Sean is still looking to strengthen things.

On his prediction for 2016 Last year I said we would survive. So this year I am going to say we won’t make promotion in the hope I am wrong again. That being said I like the Championship…

 

The Offside Rule Podcast Prediction: It’s difficult to see Burnley coming back up this season, the club lack a prolific goalscorer, although that could change come next month. On paper, there are better squads in the league but if Sean Dyche can find that spirit they showed last season they could at least make the play-offs.

Key Player: Jelle Vossen – With Danny Ings gone and Ashley Barnes injured, it appears the burden will fall on former Middlesbrough striker Vossen to get the goals, for now. It never really worked out consistently at the Riverside but Vossen has plenty of talent if he plays week in, week out.

One to Watch: Fredrik Ulvestad – The Norwegian didn’t feature too much in the Premier League but has been a part of Burnley’s pre-season plans. At 23, he’s already capped for his country and could certainly be a midfielder to watch at Turf Moor this season.

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