Burnley boss looking for home victory

BAD DAY AT THE OFFICE: Eddie Howe and Nigel Adkins
BAD DAY AT THE OFFICE: Eddie Howe and Nigel Adkins

EDDIE Howe hopes to make it Home Sweet Home and give Burnley’s play-off hopes a shot in the arm.

The Clarets host Barnsley tonight, looking to bounce back from a 2-0 defeat at Southampton on Saturday.

And Howe knows if his side are to mount a real push for the top six, they have to improve on a home record that, unusually for Burnley, is a pale shadow of their form on the road.

The Clarets have won five, drawn five and lost five in front of their own supporters, while winning a whopping eight games away from home - the second best record in the Championship.

Howe has eight games remaining at Turf Moor this season, and he said: “I wouldn’t say we’re due a big performance at home, but we’d like a result.

“We haven’t lost many of late at home, and performances have been okay, but we need to produce a special night under the lights.

“We had back to back wins at home around Christmas time, and you think we’ve turned the corner, but the two draws against Derby and Peterborough were disappointing because we could have won both games.

“We didn’t, and we need to turn those draws into wins.

“Our record smacks of inconsistency - five wins, five draws and five defeats - and we need to get that right.

“Any successsful teams needs to win their home games, and while our away form has been brilliant, we need to get our home form right.

“I think we can do it, we have the players to, the way we’re set up we should be a good home side, we’re attacking, so fingers crossed.”

Preparations have not been ideal of late with the freezing conditions meaning training sessions in the gym and on the pitch at the Turf, and Howe looked back on the setback at St Mary’s: “With any defeat, it is small margins, and it only takes a slight shift during the week where, whatever area it is within a football club, you’ve got to be doing the right things every day, and I felt maybe due to a combination of factors we were slightly below par.

“It was a diffult training week with the weather, and that’s not an excuse, it’s how it was, it was disjointed, and there were a couple of other things.

“It was always going to be tough, Southampton are a good side, and it’s important we don’t dwell on it.

“They were better than us on the day, they’ve spent a lot of money and have a very strong squad - it’s no disgrace to lose to them, but it was the manner we lost which was most disappointing.

“I’ll be banging the drum saying we’ve got to get the performance right against Barnsley, and hopefully we’ll see a reaction.”

Burnley lost the reverse fixture 2-0 at Oakwell against Barnsley, but the Tykes have since lost both goalscorers that night - Jacob Butterfield is out for the rest of the season through injury, while Ricardo Vaz Te joined West Ham last month, and Howe said: “They’ve lost a few players, they deservedly beat us earlier this season - we didn’t do ourselves justice.

“They’ve brought a few players in and are a different side now, but they have the same front two that caused us problems.

“Keith Hill is organised and will have a game plan.”

Howe took both Dean Marney and Keith Treacy off at the break at Southampton, but neither had a knock: “They were both tactical.

“I made the two changes at half-time because I thought we lacked energy, lacked spark, which is unlike us, so it’s a tough one to take because I’ve got really honest players, but we haven’t performed, and I think they’re aware of my feelings.”

Substitute Marvin Bartley will look to shake off a niggle he picked up, however: “Marvin got a couple of knocks, he’d ran the first off when he got another bang in the same area, so we’ll have to see how he is, but I thought he did well when he came on.

“We’ve got a few bumps and bruises but I don’t think there’s anything too serious, we have a couple who might be doubtful, but hopefully we’ll have everyone fit.”

Martin Paterson is nearing a return to the squad after his hamstring injury, and Howe is hopeful of involving him this week - with a trip to Reading to follow on Friday night: “Fingers crossed we’ll see him this week, whether it’s against Barnsley or Reading.

“He’s improving, but last week the weather played a part in delaying his return.

“We’re hoping to get him back as soon as we can, and Danny Ings isn’t far away either.

“Junior Stanislas is just behind both of them.”

The trio’s imminent return means a venture into the loan market is unlikely - certainly in the forward areas: “The loan market would be something I would look at if we didn’t have the likes of Danny and Pato just around the corner, but possibly in other areas we may look at it.

“Junior isn’t far away as well, but we are thin on the ground, so if those lads don’t come back as quickly as we thought, we may try and do something.”