Premier League Previews: Burnley
What are you most excited about heading into the new season?
I’m excited because I can’t imagine us having a start anywhere near as terrible as last season! As much as the Europa League was great, having that directly follow the World Cup disrupted the start of our season massively, and our league form suffered as a consequence.
I’m very excited to see how McNeil kicks on from his incredible debut season; he’s a young man with so much potential. Our strikers also seem on great form, with Wood scoring NINE in pre-season.
What worries you ahead of the new season?
My main worry is our lack of midfield depth, especially with Defour seemingly unable to get himself up to speed after being sidelined for so long. That said, I’d love to see him return to his magical best – he’s a very special player.
I still think we need a fresh option in midfield, though, so I’m hoping we sign someone before the window closes. However, given our limited budget, I’m worried we won’t buy someone with enough quality, and subsequently settle for a cheap alternative.
What have you made of your club’s transfer activity this summer?
I think it’s been good and efficient, even if we were slow to get the ball rolling. Replacing Ward with Pieters – a player with tonnes of experience – was great business. Bringing Rodriguez back to his hometown club is a strong move too; he’s got a point to prove and adds a lot to our front line.
Bailey-Peacock seems like a great, young back-up option for Pope following Heaton’s exit. He’s not perfect, but having a coach like Billy Mercer working his magic on him at just 22 years of age can only improve the guy.
I think there’s still some more to come, but a lot of that will depend on whether Tarkowski goes to Leicester and how we utilise that money should it happen. Plus with the rumours of Vydra and Wells possibly leaving this week too, so we’ll definitely have to bring some fresh blood in.
What unpopular opinion do you have about your team?
Selling Heaton is absolutely fine. It was the right time to do it. There’s been a huge division between fans, which I totally understand, but for me, it was obvious that once Pope signed a new deal he wasn’t guaranteed to be our number one. At 33, Heaton doesn’t want to be sat on the bench and deserves to play.
Another unpopular opinion is that it’s OK to sell Tarkowski. He’s my favourite defender at the club, but the money we could get for him would probably be too good to turn down – especially when we have Ben Gibson ready to slot straight in.
Who would win if your squad had a WWE Royal Rumble style fight?
Easy: Ashley Barnes.
While Phil Bardsley would be fierce contender, Barnes’ pure shithousery would mean he’d find a way to win. He’d 100% have a dirty tactic or two up his sleeve to give him an advantage.
Where do you think your team will realistically finish in the Premier League?
I don’t think top half is unrealistic. We’ve shown what we can do after shocking the country to finish 7th in 2017-18, and if we pretend last season started on January 1st, our results would’ve had us 7th once again.
If we’re lucky with injuries and build some early momentum, we’ll be a totally different team with the confidence that breeds. Our strikers have been scoring freely in pre-season, so it’s quite exciting to be a Burnley fan right now. Another European tour, anyone?