‘A frightening prospect when everything is in order’: What Bristol City can expect from Burnley

Burnley are still finding their feet under Vincent Kompany but could be a ‘frightening’ prospect when things gel together.

Bristol City face another tough test as they travel to Turf Moor to face recently relegated Burnley.

Turf Moor isn’t a happy hunting ground with a brief look at the history books showing only two wins in the last 25 years, with the last victory coming in December 2007 with Tamas Vasko scoring the winner.

The Clarets are the second relegated team in a row that the Robins have faced after a narrow 3-2 defeat to Norwich City on Wednesday.

Vincent Kompany’s side are ahead of City on goal difference with lesser goals scored but a more assured defence, placing them in fifth.

The Manchester City legend succeeded Sean Dyche following Michael Jackson’s caretaker spell, which oversaw the team’s relegation.

Most teams relegated from the top flight are expected to bounce back with parachute payments to boast. Several of their stars have been sold like Dwight McNeil and Maxwell Cornet, but Kompany has put his own stamp on the squad.

Dan Black, the North West sports editor for National World and journalist for the Burnley Express paints the picture of the Lancashire club and gives us an insight as to what Nigel Pearson’s men can expect on Saturday.

What is the early feeling around Vincent Kompany’s tenure at Burnley, is it completely different to what it was like under Sean Dyche?

There’s a lot of excitement and anticipation after a transfer window like no other at Turf Moor. There’s a new manager, new backroom staff, a new squad, the style of play has been completely revamped so, all in all, it’s a new era at Burnley Football Club. Most supporters would have foreseen this as a period of transition, but the early signs have been encouraging and I think hope, ambition and expectation has heightened somewhat, without getting too carried away. We’re still familiarising ourselves with a new group following a prolonged spell of consistency under Sean Dyche and the approach of playing out from the back is still taking some getting used to.

Burnley are the second relegated team Bristol City will play after playing Norwich, is the ambition this season an immediate return to the Premier League?

The players will tell you that they want promotion, but the manager has kept his cards close to his chest. Everybody wants success but, at the same time, there has to be a sense of realism that comes with it. Wholesale changes have been made throughout the club and we’re back operating in one of the most competitive and challenging divisions in Europe. Success isn’t a given, but I think the most exciting thing is that this group of players are nowhere near their ceiling. There’s plenty still to come and when it all clicks into place they’re going to take some stopping.

How is former Bristol City midfielder Josh Brownhill viewed by Burnley?

After losing a handful of key figureheads in the summer exodus, there were concerns that more would follow. A total of 16 new faces were added, with 13 going in the opposite direction. Thankfully, Josh Brownhill was one of those who remained. I asked Vincent Kompany about the importance of keeping hold of the midfielder earlier in the week, and he responded: “A player of his quality can have a really defining impact for us this season.” He already has six goal contributions this season (4 goals and 2 assists) while still adapting to a new role under the new regime. His experience of the Championship is invaluable and, as Kompany alluded to, he’s only going to go from strength to strength as the season goes on.

Vincent Kompany has a distinguished playing career but is now in management. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)
Vincent Kompany has a distinguished playing career but is now in management. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)
Vincent Kompany has a distinguished playing career but is now in management. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

What are the key strengths and weaknesses of Burnley?

Burnley’s possession-based style obviously limits the opposition from getting on the ball and causing too much damage, but the Clarets are conceding too often given how few shots on goal they’re giving away.

They’re hugely exciting at times, but their high line does make them susceptible to counters and they have looked vulnerable at the back on occasions when the opposition has turned over the ball and broke at speed.

Turning possession into goals and maximum points, at present, is their Achilles heel, but they’re not far from a repeat performance of their 5-1 win over Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium last month.

Vincent Kompany is still learning about his players, with some still yet to feature as they continue to bed in, but Burnley will be a frightening prospect once everything is in order and they’ve had chance to gel.

Nathan Tella (on loan from Southampton), Anass Zaroury, Manuel Benson, Darko Churlinov (injured) are all highly exciting prospects, with Scott Twine still to come in, Ian Maatsen (on loan from Chelsea) has added extra impetus when driving forward from defence while Taylor Harwood-Bellis (on loan from Manchester City) has been a rock at the back.

Once they get into a rhythm, and the goals come, you’d imagine that the Clarets will be difficult to stop.

How do you expect Burnley to line up and what kind of team news is there?

Scott Twine, Charlie Taylor, Darko Churlinov, Ashley Westwood and Kevin Long will all be absent for the visit of the Robins.

It has been quite a task predicting Vincent Kompany’s starting line-up so far.

My guess? Muric; Roberts, Harwood-Bellis, Beyer, Maatsen; Cork, Cullen; Benson, Brownhill, Tella; Rodriguez.

Which Burnley player will cause Bristol City the most problems?

Southampton have got a very special player on their hands in Nathan Tella. With three goals already, and many chances created, he’ll be a real asset for Burnley in the Championship this season.

And finally... how do you see the game going?

I’m expecting goals. The highest scorers in the division, who also own one of the leakiest defences, against the third highest scorers, who are conceding, on average, a goal per game.

Both sides could conceivably score two goals apiece, but I’m hoping the home side will do enough on this occasion to outscore the opposition.