Wanderers welcome near-neighbours Burnley to the Reebok this Saturday. In anticipation, we spoke with Burnley fan Andrew Ashworth.
Andrew is 34 and started watching Burnley regularly perhaps around 84/85 with his dad. He is also the Burnley researcher for the Football Manager series, and also writes match reports for the youth team for independent website Clarets-Mad.
1) How has the season been for you guys?
In one word? Surprising. Coming into the season after a solid but uninspiring end to last year, on the back of very limited dealing in the transfer market, the bookies had us as relegation candidates and i'd suspect even the most fervent fans would have been a little apprehensive. We've done better than anyone could have imagined and it's down to a combination of decent football, a real togetherness & spirit and massively improved fitness levels.
2) Danny Ings and Sam Vokes haven't traditionally been high scorers - what has changed?
Good question. The team has grasped the concepts that Sean Dyche was trying to instill and are playing with direction. We are now creating chances more than last year and the partnership up top is brimming with confidence. Another key is that they are now a real partnership. Last year they rarely both played together, with Vokes a bit part from the bench and Ings was played in a variety of positions. They've known each other for some time having both come through at Bournemouth so perhaps they have a better understanding than people thought they would have.
3) At the back end of last year that was a sizeable 'Dyche Out' campaign - has that totally gone away?
I'm not sure i'd have referred to it as sizeable. There's always an element of support that do not like a manager. If it's a noisy bunch they get heard. If we don't win a game now there are still a few who will whinge as it's just in their nature - expectations became unrealistic for many after our brush with the Premiership. I think the sensible ones realised he'd been dealt a tough hand with the rudderlass ship Eddie Howe had left. While Howe brought in a lot of the players who are now performing for us he seemed clueless as to how they needed fusing together. Sean Dyche needed to re-educate and bring back the belief
4) Wanderers have ex-Burnley man Chris Eagles in their ranks - knowing what he can do is he the player you fear most?
He can be a matchwinner if he is on his game. At the same time he can completely disappear if he doesn't fancy it. I'd be loathe to pin point a single player in your squad to be honest. You have strikers who should be a threat at this level, you have some solid defenders. You've also just signed Joe Mason on loan and I've always liked the look of him. However, you also have some players in your first XI that I think are complete tripe and real weak links. Then again i'm sure you'd say the same about us
5) What do you think the score will be?
We've been excellent this year. You've been hot and cold. Form says we win. I'm much more confident than i'd typically be due to our season so far so i'll say 2-0 Burnley.
We'd like to thank Andrew for his time - and we hope he has a thoroughly miserable afternoon at the cathedral of football. COYWM.