Early doors #2: Burnley
Prior to the first game, The Seventy Two predicted that Burnley would finish second in the Championship this season. So what did Clarets fans think about their chances and how have those opinions changed with three games gone?
We asked four Burnley supporters for their thoughts so far. Many thanks to Adam Haworth, Ann Shuttleworth, Ian Fletcher and Kev Robinson for their contributions.
Q1: Before the season started, where did you think Burnley would finish?
Adam Haworth: I thought we’d finish fourth or fifth.
Ann Shuttleworth: In the top three.
Ian Fletcher: I believed we’d be about tenth – somewhere around mid-table anyway.
Kev Robinson: I reckoned we would finish second.
Q2: What do you think now?
AH: Now, I think second.
AS: Nothing has changed. I still think we’ll finish in the top three.
IF: I’m more optimistic now. Hopefully we can finish in the play-offs.
KR: Even more confident. Champions.
Q3: Have Burnley performed above or below expectations so far? What has gone right/wrong?
AH: It sounds cruel but below. It’s evident that we can progress further so that is my reason for thinking we could have done better so far.
Nothing terrible has gone wrong, we just haven’t got into our stride yet. I suppose one thing is that it takes a while to get into games but that’s something I think that will come over time.
AS: I don’t think they’re performing as well as they could, and some (Tyrone Mears…) need to either show some enthusiasm or move on. However, we’ve made a good start and we should have some money to spend if we need it in the window.
IF: Above. I thought there may be a hangover from last year, but it seems that the team is starting to gel now. There is still a little too much long ball at the minute.
KR: We have been nowhere near our potential. Our midfield hasn’t had any impact on games at all. Only Chris Iwelumo up top and Andre “BA” Bikey at the back have really been on top form.
And yet we have seven from a possible nine points in what was billed as a tough start. When we really hit top form, we should have no problems in what is looking like a poor league this season.
Q4: What needs to change in order to achieve success this season?
AH: I don’t think there’s anything at the moment. We have all the resources but now we have to perform.
AS: New signings – our squad is still small and we need to strengthen our defence.
IF: Nothing really!
KR: We lack real depth in the centre of midfield. A couple of injuries and we would be in trouble there. Tyrone Mears has been a big weak link so far this season and I would be looking to replace him with somebody more committed.
Other than that, though, I am more than happy with the squad we have.
Q5: Who has impressed so far?
AH: Chris Iwelumo is doing his job well, he’s got two goals in two games. Ross Wallace is excellent, so they’re both signings that have been worth the money so far. Andre Bikey has shone recently as well and looks solid in the back four at the moment.
And that is just Burnley! What a fantastic league this is…
AS: Chris Iwelumo, Andre Bikey and Jack Cork.
IF: Ross Wallace.
KR: Andre “BA” Bikey – sporting his new BA Baracus hairstyle – has been top, top quality at the back and must be the best defender in the league by far.
Chris Iwelumo knows where the net is, but so far no opposition player has been anything other than average. I hope this picks up as it’s been relatively boring so far.
Q6: Who will win the league?
AH: I can try and predict something, but you never can tell with this league!
AS: Probably Cardiff, simply because of the Craig Bellamy factor.
IF: Queen’s Park Rangers – they’ve got Warnock and they’ve got money.
KR: Burnley, because there is little in real competition this season. We have a great squad and fantastic spirit. So far it looks like QPR could be our only threat.