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Bird's Eye View: Ready To Challenge

9 January 2013

Clarets Player commentator Phil Bird talks all things football

Everything Still to Play For:

It’s certainly a key stage of our season. We would need to at least double our points tally from our remaining 20 games. In a tight division, 72 points might be enough for a play-off spot. Twelve wins out of 20 games is not outlandish. We are in a position to challenge and we need to kick on from here. 

Crystal Palace come to Turf Moor listed as one of the promotion favourites. In Glenn Murray they have the division’s top scorer and, in Wilf Zaha, they have the division’s best player. 

The best teams in the land are courting Zaha, and there is a concern in South London that this attention has affected his game a little. 

He was excellent at Selhurst Park but it’s a game Burnley should have won. We were 2-0 up and in charge but we left ourselves open to the counter attack and that’s when the Eagles are at their most dangerous.

Let’s hope Sean Dyche has a few players returning on Saturday. Chris McCann, Martin Paterson, Ben Mee and Charlie Austin were all missing, injured at Barnsley. Any Championship side would miss those players. 

We are out of the FA Cup. It was a poor game at Oakwell spoilt by the harsh sending off of Brian Stock. What was his first booking for? We are certainly not getting the rub of the green at the moment. 

It seems ironic that Wednesday's Jeremy Helan was allowed to play against us on New Year's Day after he picked up two yellow cards in the previous game. Bizarrely, he ended up suspended for the Owls' FA Cup tie - a game he couldn't have played in anyway!

Dane Richards certainly made an impression on his Clarets debut at Oakwell. He looked really lively and caused Barnsley problems in the last 20 minutes or so. An experienced international his pace will be a real asset in the future. 

Etihad Bound:

I was pleased to hear Thursday’s FA Youth Cup tie with Manchester City will now be played at the Etihad Stadium. It’s a fitting reward for a fantastic third round win at Old Trafford. 

It’s a tough draw but Terry Pashley will have his team well prepared. City have scoured the world for young talent and that is illustrated by young Spaniard Jose Angel Pozo, who was signed from Real Madrid on his 16th birthday for a reported fee of £3m.

Portuguese midfield Marco Lopez scored on his first team debut last Saturday to become the youngest ever scorer in City’s first team history.

It’s another big night for Burnley’s top scorer Jason Gilchrist. A Man Utd fan, he was released by City but goes into this fourth round tie on the back of his sensational hat-trick at Old Trafford.
Kean Pays the Price:

Steve Kean and Blackburn Rovers have settled with former boss Sam Allardyce out of court after Kean was filmed by a Rovers fan in the summer of 2011 making disparaging remarks about his predecessor in Hong Kong.

Kean apparently ducked out of a scheduled appearance on SKY's Goals on Sunday. 

Sven Goran Eriksson has more front than Brighton! Having accepted the Rovers job in 1997, and then giving backword to go to Lazio, he has now put his name forward for the job in the Venkys era.
You’re Not Tweeting Anymore!

I had a chuckle when it was announced by Bolton Wanderers this week that their striker Marvin Sordell has got a social networking obsession. Manager Dougie Freedman has taken matters into his own hands – apparently he’s confiscated his phone!

It seems a bit harsh on a young man who is living over 200 miles away from home. 
The Name’s Rio!

There has been some discussion about Rio Ferdinand’s future at Old Trafford. With his contract up in the summer Rio has got one eye on a Hollywood move. Believe it or not, he wants to succeed Daniel Craig as the first back James Bond! 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Burnley FC.

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