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Burnley 0 Montpellier 0

Robbie Brady taken off as a precaution as Clarets draw with French side

29 July 2018

Robbie Brady saw the latest leg of his comeback cut short as the Clarets drew with French top-flight side Montpellier in their opening pre-season friendly at Turf Moor.

Brady had successfully come through 45 minutes of a first public work-out since returning from the knee injury he suffered last December.

But just over a week on from that, the winger was taken off as a precuationary measuure after feeling a slight hamstring tweak three minutes before half-time, in the first of two friendlies the Clarets have planned against European opposition before the Premier League starts.

Spanish side Espanyol are in town next Sunday but before that Burnley play the second leg of their Europa League qualifying tie against Aberdeen.

Jeff Hendrick, the only one of the side that started last Thursday night’s 1-1 draw at Pittodrie, was pressed into action from the start against the French side as he filled a central midfield role alongside the fit-again and firing Aiden O’Neill.

But Sam Vokes, who came off the bench to score the vital away goal at Pittodrie, was also given more game-time in a side selected to spread match fitness across the squad ahead of the start of the domestic campaign in a fortnight’s time - and with Thursday’s return leg against the Dons in mind.

Striker Ashley Barnes made a welcome return from the knee injury that had disrupted his pre-season and, like Hendrick, played for an hour of a game that was always going to lack some intensity, sandwiched in between the two legs of the European clash.

But despite no goals it still served a purpose, despite the disappointment of losing the services of Brady, who had gone close to giving the Clarets an early lead.

His curling free-kick needed a diving save from Benjamin Lecomte to prevent the ball sneaking into the corner.

And it was a Brady corner that led to Burnley’s best chance of the first half; captain Kevin Long heading the ball back across goal for Vokes to strike a volley which flew just over the bar.

Vokes had another opening a couple of minutes after the break but mis-cued in front of goal.

And Hendrick also went close with a fierce angled strike cleared off the line by defender Pedro Mendes, shortly before making way for Dwight McNeil as the Clarets made a double change.

Montpellier were playing the fourth game of their pre-season campaign and first away from home following a win, a draw and defeat.

The wet and windy conditions that greeted them in Lancashire were a far cry from the temperatures in southern France – and in Burnley for most of the summer!

But the 2012 French champions warmed to their task and had a couple of opportunities to break the deadlock.

Adam Legzdins, getting a start with the Clarets’ goalkeeping resources temporarily feeling the pinch, beat away an early strike from Paul Lasane, while some alert defending from Long snuffed out a chance for former Wigan striker Andy Delort as he waited to meet a low cross from Isaac Mbenza.

And with nine minutes to go with the sun back out, Legzdins was forced into action again to parry a shot from substitute Giovanni Sio, to close out a welcome clean sheet and complete the stalemate as the Clarets' solid defensive line got their job done.

Burnley: Legzdins, Bardsley, Dunne, Long, Taylor, Brady (McNeil 42), Hendrick (Mason 60), O'Neill, Walters, Vokes (Agyei 73), Barnes (Wells 60). Substitutes: Trialist, Tarkowski, Cork, Lennon, Wood, Gudmundsson, Ward, Lowton, Westwood, Koiki.

Montpellier: Lecomte, Aguilar (Porsan-Clemente 82), Mendes, Hilton, Congre, Skhiri (Le Tallec HT), Lasne (Piriz 82), Mbenza (Sambia 82), Mollet (Skuletic 73), Oyongo (Poaty 73), Delort (Sio 65). Substitutes:

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Attendance: 4,162


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