Chris Iwelumo’s goals alert

NICE ONE: Jay Rodriguez congratulates scorer Chris Iwelumo after Burnley's third goal at Watford on Saturday
NICE ONE: Jay Rodriguez congratulates scorer Chris Iwelumo after Burnley's third goal at Watford on Saturday

BIG Chris Iwelumo resumes his goal battle with Chris Eagles at Cardiff tonight, with the pair level on 11 each.

The Clarets go to South Wales looking to claw their way closer to the play-off places, on the back of two successive wins.

Much has been made of Cardiff’s much-vaunted strikeforce, but Iwelumo feels Burnley also have a frontline to be feared – with new England Under-21 cap Jay Rodriguez also chipping in with six goals to date, while Charlie Austin and former Bluebird Steven Thompson add to the mix.

And he hopes the competition for goals will spur the Clarets on: “I don’t know if Chris Eagles is trying to get in my head, but he told me after the match on Saturday that he’d said we’d got a bet going.

“He has brought it up for the last five or six weeks, obviously because he’s nicking a few goals here and there, so he things he’s getting closer to it.

“He’s getting a bit chirpier.

“He says there’s a wager going on, so I presume if he wins that he’ll tell me what the wager is.

“I’ll try my best to make sure he doesn’t. But we’ll see. It’s going to be interesting.

“There’s a bigger picture, but when you’re having a bit of fun and banter it makes it a bit easier and takes your mind off things.”

Iwelumo made his first start under Eddie Howe at Watford on Saturday, scoring his first goal away from Turf Moor in a 3-1 victory.

But he was just glad to be back in the side and contributing: “I’ve never had a problem with the away goal thing in my career before so that’s that put to bed.

“I’ll probably start scoring away from home, and not at home anymore!

“It’s just good to be starting again though. In football, you just never know what’s round the corner for you.

“You’ve just got to keep your head right, and be as professional as you can.

“It’s so frustrating when you’re not involved, so I think when that chance comes along, you’ve got to do everything in your power to make sure you don’t get left out again.

“I’m not the only one.

“Everyone in the squad wants to play – I think that’s the way it should be – and when they’re not, you’ve got to try to do whatever you can to keep focused, so when that chance does come, you’re in the right place to perform.

“I’m sure that’s what every manager wants.

“He wants every player in the squad to be champing at the bit to play, and that’s exactly how it is here.

“It was frustrating, but that’s football.”

Iwelumo might have been on his way during the January transfer window, with interest from Preston, among other Championship clubs.

But he’s happy to be at turf Moor, and looking to take his chance.

He said: : “I got a phone call saying a couple of clubs had come in, and I thought the door would have been closed on it, but there were talks going on, which I was surprised about.

“But you just don’t know what’s round the corner in this game.”

What is probably around the corner for the Scotland international is a bit of stick tonight from the home fans, who remember Stoke winning 2-0 at Ninian Park in the Second Division play-off semi-final second leg in 2002, to win 3-2 on aggregate.

Iwelumo said: “I’m hated down there! Back in the Stoke days, it was Stoke v Cardiff in the play-off semis.

“It went to extra-time and we beat them.

“We had to stay in the stadium for four hours after the match, so I always get a nice little reception when I go back!

“They were the two big teams in League 1 at the time, and there was a lot of animosity between the fans.

“It was all kicking off!”