Phil Bird looks forward to derby dayClarets Player commentator Phil Bird returns with his sideways look at life at Turf Moor and beyond:
Derby Win Would Lift Our Spirits:
It's been a difficult few weeks. Our recent home form has been disappointing.
The games against Middlesbrough, Huddersfield Town, Barnsley and Hull City were poor games, and were low on entertainment value.
It takes two to tango. These sides came to Turf Moor with limited ambition but we found it very hard to break them down.
We struggled on our screen test on Monday. It was a drab game. Hull were little better. Steve Bruce changed his tactics on the night using his son Alex in a defensive screening role. After successive heavy away defeats, his approach was to make the Tigers harder to beat.
I thought it was reminiscent of "rope-a-dope" boxing tactics - inviting the opponent on, defending, and then attacking later in the contest. However, at Turf Moor, the onus is on us to change our tactics to take the game to the opposition.
Charlie heads wide late on v Hull
It's been a strange season and a crazy league!
Statistics show we are still amongst the top sides in the division for the number of shots on goal. Apart from Cardiff (a) and Peterborough United (H) all our matches have been live going into the last few minutes. It’s an incredibly tight division. 72 points could be enough for a play off berth, and 52 points might be needed to stay up. The table has concertinaed.
Sunday is a chance to show everybody we have much, much more to offer. Our last derby win was in April 1979.
Then, like now, we were out of the promotion picture.
Tony Morley and Brian Hall were the heroes that day. It's our cup final.
If one result can lift a town and revitalise a team, this is it.
More of this please...
Without a win in eight games, Rovers have had a disappointing season. After relegation from the top flight, they would have expected to go straight back.
Compared to Burnley, they have a massive wage bill. Their forward line against Millwall of Leon Best and Jordan Rhodes cost a staggering £11m – money the Clarets can only dream of spending on players.
Their FA Cup quarter final exit at home to Millwall was a surprise, but Michael Appleton can add three cup tied players to his squad for Sunday: DJ Campbell, Cameron Stewart, and David Jones,
Harsh on McDermott:
I’m staggered by Reading’s decision to dispense with the services of manager Brian McDermott.
I think he has performed miracles at the Madejski Stadium.
When we played them away from home thirteen months ago we would have gone to within a point of them with a win. Jay Rodriguez and Charlie Austin both hit the woodwork whilst Jason Roberts mishit the winner. From that point, they have performed miracles.
And to be with a chance of Premier League survival in March is a marvellous achievement. McDermott deserves better.
Green, Green Grass of Home!
My favourite story of the week involves Notts County's attempts to improve their playing surface at Meadow Lane.
Nottingham Police have confiscated heating lamps that were used by local criminals to grow cannabis. Normally they would have been crushed. Notts County have stepped in, and after giving a small donation to charity, they are putting them to good use on the banks of the River Trent!