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Bird's Eye View: Still in the race

21 February 2013

Clarets Player commentator Phil Bird talks all things football

Tuesday night was disappointing. We couldn’t find a way through a rugged, defensive-minded Middlesbrough side

As games go it wasn’t the most entertaining affair. Tony Mowbray’s side were determined to halt a dreadful run of results. They adopted negative tactics with little ambition to get forward and attack Burnley.

That meant chances were at a premium and we couldn't find a way past the impressive Jason Steele in the Boro goal. His two first-half saves to deny Charlie Austin and Dean Marney looked top class.
 
We will feel a little hard done by when Martin Paterson was held by George Friend in the box in the second half. If a penalty had been given the defender would have probably been dismissed. 

And, a little later, some observers thought the Nicky Bailey challenge on Chris McCann was on the line rather than just outside the box. There is no doubting we are not getting our share of the marginal decisions right now.


But a point is a point and the gap remains at seven with a game in hand. We are still in the race.
 
All Eyes on Brighton:

Games are coming thick and fast now. Having been held by a Middlesbrough side in sixth place we now go to Brighton and Hove Albion who are in seventh spot. 

They pulled off one of the best results of the season, winning 2-0 at Premier League-bound Cardiff City on Tuesday. It’s an opportunity for us to make up ground. What a place that would be to end our little winless run! 
 
We saw a lively game at the Amex Stadium last season. Kieran Trippier’s goal separated the two sides. The Seagulls had Romain Vincelot and Ashley Barnes sent off in controversial circumstances and nearly nicked a point in the tense closing stages. 

Expect the unexpected in this division. Just about anything is possible. Look at Peterborough United! 

Earlier this month we were disappointed to only draw at London Road. Since then, Posh they have beaten Leicester City at home and won 5-1 at FA Cup quarter-finalists Millwall. 
 
Giving Youth a Chance:  

One of the plus points from the Middlesbrough game was Kevin Long’s performance at centre-back. In only his second League start he settled in well alongside skipper Jason Shackell. 


Long has needed some patience. He joined us in our Premier League season but three successive managers have not used him in the first team until Sean Dyche’s arrival. 

The Gaffer is clearly willing to give youth a chance. Danny Lafferty has done really well at left-back since Ben Mee’s enforced absence through injury.

It was also good to see Cameron Howieson get a call up for New Zealand under-20s. Howieson has got a massive future in the game. 
 
Out of Bounds:

Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter had his two pennies worth after Arsenal lost to Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup. He tweeted: “Utter c**p Wenger that’s your lot you have to go, take a bow you’ve done an amazing job over the years but enough is enough.”

It will be interesting to see if Arsene Wenger stalks the fairways at Muirfield this summer and offers a bit of advice when Poults misses a green or two! 

Incidentally that was only the third time an Arsenal side managed by Wenger has lost to lower league opposition in domestic cup competitions. Burnley were the first (Carling Cup 2008/09), followed by Bradford City in the same competition earlier this season.” 
 
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Burnley FC. 



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