Grezza ready to do battle with Savage

IT seems that every time you turn the radio or television on, there’s Robbie Savage.

Friday, 26th November 2010, 5:00 am

But Clarets skipper Graham Alexander is determined no-one hears a peep from the Derby County midfielder at Turf Moor tomorrow night.

Alexander is bearing down on 1,000 career appearances, but has rarely crossed paths with the former Blackburn man, who seems to divide opinion like Marmite.

He is looking forward to pitting his wits against him in front of the cameras though, and he admires the combative Welshman: “I think he’s a 100 per cent committed player.

“There are players who get in your face and try to upset you but he’s good on the ball as well, he can pass a ball.

“You don’t play 10-15 years in the Premier League without being a good player.

“If you take all the stuff that surrounds him that everyone talks about, at the base of it you’ve got a very good footballer there.

“That’s all you can play against, the football side of it.”

Savage is sure of an interesting reception wherever he goes, but after his time at Ewood Park, it will be particularly frosty at the Turf, but Alexander added: “There are no special thoughts in our mind that we’re coming up against Robbie Savage.

“Derby have got plenty of good players for us to worry about.

“We’ve got to worry about ourselves first and make sure our game’s on top first.

“I haven’t played against him that many times, to be honest.

“I played against him when he was at Crewe.

“I don’t think I ever did when he was at Leicester.

“I don’t think he’d ever remember me anyway!

“He was in the Premier League while I was dogging it in the lower divisions.

“He’s a good player.”

The midfield battle is sure to be an important area tomorrow, as the Clarets look to halt a side that has charged into the play-off places under Nigel Clough, while Burnley fell from sixth to 10th after the defeat at Coventry last week.

Burnley have only lost once at home in nine games so far, however, and Alexander is confident in maintaining that statistic.

He feels it’s time Burnley stamped their authority on the league: “There’s expectations with the players and the staff and the fans – we need to be at the top end of the table this year, we’re just below it at the moment but nothing that two or three wins won’t put right.

“It’s probably the strongest squad I’ve ever played with, and definitely the deepest in quality.

“We could put two teams out there, and that’s great for the manager to have that pool of depth and quality.

“It’s just finding the right team to win the right games.

“We’re looking for three points against Derby.

“We look to beat anyone in this division. Whenever we play we want to win.

“We know how strong we are at Turf Moor, but Derby are going to be coming here looking for three points themselves, so it’s going to be a right battle.”

Several sides have changed their style and mentality coming to Burnley, notably Reading and Doncaster, to good effect, but Alexander feels the Clarets have to expect that: “That’s the challenge of football. You’re going to face something different every week, home or away.

“There are different teams, different styles, different strengths. Teams that come here look at our home record and the quality we’ve got in our ranks and they might change the way they play a little bit. It’s no different to most divisions.

“Managers will look at the opposition and play accordingly, but other managers just concentrate on themselves and their own team.

“At the end of the day that’s the best way to be, to concentrate on yourselves, make sure you play how you want to play and let the opposition worry about you.”

And hefeels there should be no air of panic about Burnley’s current position: “Without a doubt.

“You end up saying if these two teams win or draws and these ones lose and we win … you’re trying to judge five or six results and you’re concentrating on things that you can’t control.

“There’s no point looking at league tables now. You just look at your next game, get your head down and concentrate on that, try to get the best result you can out of it and have a little glance on Monday and put it to bed again until the following Monday.

“There’s no point looking at league tables at this stage of the season. You just look to win your next game.”