Burnley midfield ace McCann out to end Rovers hoodoo

ON A MISSION: Chris McCann
ON A MISSION: Chris McCann

CLARETS midfielder Chris McCann is determined to end the Burnley fans’ wait for a derby win over Blackburn Rovers.

One of the oldest rivalries in football resumes on Sunday at Turf Moor (kick-off 12-30 p.m.), with the Clarets having failed to beat Rovers since April 1979.

The Dubliner has yet to sample the fixture, having been injured for the Premier League meetings three seasons ago.

But he was a ballboy when the sides drew 0-0 in the FA Cup in 2005, and that experience alone pressed home what the game means to the supporters.

The 25-year-old said: “You don’t get these derbies coming around all the time.

“Hopefully the fans don’t have to wait any longer for that win, and we can give it to them on Sunday.

“The first time I watched a derby I was a ballboy at the time, and Robbie Savage was still playing for Blackburn.

“You’re thinking ‘this is a massive, massive thing’.

“People underestimate how big it is, especially for the people of Burnley.

“You walk around the town and the first thing people say is ‘we can’t wait to play Blackburn’.

“You see how much it means to them, so you don’t want to disappoint anybody or let anybody down.”

There is no Andy Payton or Jay Rodriguez on Sunday - a Burnley boy hoping to shoot down Rovers - but McCann is virtually an adopted son of the town, having been with the club since he was 16.

He smiled: “I’m still a Dublin boy, but ever since I came here I’ve been welcomed really well, I’ve met some good people around the town.

“You see how much the club means to the people of this town and how much a result will mean to them on Sunday, more than anything else.

“We’ve just got to go out there, do our jobs the best we can and hopefully we’ll get the three points.

“Everybody’s looking forward to it and hopefully we can give a good account of ourselves and do everybody justice.”

Burnley’s derby record so far this season is exemplary, having beaten Owen Coyle’s Bolton Wanderers 2-0 on the opening day, and Blackpool 1-0 in Terry Pashley’s first game in caretaker charge after the departure of Eddie Howe.

The hat-trick would be perfect, and McCann said: “It’s two out of two in the derbies now so it would be nice to do all three of them.

“It’s going to be a difficult game.

“They’ve got some really good players and are playing all right themselves, and they’ve got a new manager as well.

“It’s going to be a tough game, we’ll make no bones about that, but I think if we go into it full of confidence and playing like we can play, they’re not going to be in for an easy afternoon.”

With a sell-out crowd expected, the atmosphere promises to provide a different test for the players - to retain their composure and play their normal game.

McCann explained: “Derby games are different, definitely. You get the atmosphere.

“The only thing is you can’t afford to let the emotion get to you on the pitch.

“You’ve got to keep yourself in check and not make any stupid tackles for the sake of geeing the crowd up.

“You’ve got to play the game.

“People have been around the block long enough in this team to know what you’ve got to do.

“We’ve got to bring all the experience that we’ve got in the team and pull together.

“I’m sure with the fans’ backing they’ll have the place buzzing on Sunday.

“We’re really looking forward to that game and making it our little fortress and difficult for them to get anything off us.”

Burnley have become tighter at the back under new boss Sean Dyche, and McCann hopes that contines: “I think we’ve brought that little bit of solidity to the team.

“The manager’s come in and worked a lot more defensively on us and we have looked a lot stronger in the last couple of weeks, and we’re still scoring goals as well, which is a bonus.

“We’ve just got to keep moving onwards and upwards taking it one game at a time.

“I think if we do that we should be ok.”

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