Back on the road again for the Eagles this weekend with a trip to Turf Moor, so TEB had a chat with the guys at Clarets Turf to find out about the season so far and their thoughts ahead of the game.
Q. How has the season been for Burnley so far?
It has been a difficult season for Burnley, we have struggled. It has not helped having a poor summer transfer window, small squad and blighted with injuries to our goalkeepers Tom Heaton and Nick Pope at the start of the campaign and juggling the Europa League qualifiers and the Premier League.
Q. What did you make of the game at Selhurst Park earlier in the season?
Burnley were really poor that afternoon, out-thought, no desire, no commitment, no passion. Palace deserved the three points that day.
Q. What are your hopes for the rest of the season?
To finish as high as we can, now hitting the thirty point mark, hopefully we can get a couple more wins that will secure Premier League football at Turf Moor for another year.
Q. Last season was a fantastic achievement, qualifying for the Europa League, but did that have a detrimental effect to this season?
Yes, having a small squad and a small transfer budget did not help matters and the club struggled to juggle two competitions. Our season started two weeks after the World Cup Final. The players looked jaded going into games. Since Boxing Day the real Burnley from last season are back having seen us winning five, drawing three and losing none.
Q. Who has been the stand out Burnley player this season?
Dwight McNeil. The 19-year old has been on Burnley’s books since he was 14 after being released by Manchester United. He broke into the team and hasn’t looked back. A real star for the future and a future England international. Would also say Ashley Westwood has been excellent since coming in for the injured Steven Defour. Unsung hero.
Q. Did Burnley do the business they needed to in the transfer window? Which position needs desperate attention in the summer?
No, we were probably the lowest spending team in the division. We have one of the smallest squads in the division. One position we did need for cover was defence and we got Ben Gibson from Middlesbrough for £15million. We had to sign a goalkeeper due to injuries to Tom Heaton and Nick Pope. Personally, I think we could have done with another central midfielder along with the defender we did get. We purchased striker Matej Vydra from Derby County for £13million but he has yet to be given a real chance and maybe (in my opinion) he just isn’t good enough for the Premier League.
Q. If you could pick one Palace player for Burnley to sign in the summer, who would it be and why?
Actually, I quite like a few players but one player stands out more than others and you’ll agree with me on this – Wilfred Zaha. Classy player, intelligent, quick, direct and has really come on as top Premier League footballer.
Q. Name a player from each side that you believe will be a threat in this game?
Ashley Barnes for Burnley, and of course, Zaha for Palace.
Q. Perhaps you could share your opinions on Palace this season?
Palace are in a similar situation to Burnley in the league, being level on points. A mixed start to the season but since mid-December, Palace have won 9, drawn 3 and lost just 2 in all competitions and in the quarter finals of the FA Cup. Palace have a decent run in, they should be fine and I would not be surprised if they finished in the top ten come May.
Q. Your prediction?
It all depends on Burnley’s result at Newcastle in midweek and Palace’s against Manchester United, but going off recent form I will say a 1-1 draw.