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Stephen Cummings column: Marney is such a big miss in Burnley midfield
PERHAPS the trick is to avoid playing teams who kit themselves out in blue and white stripes.
That’s the favoured design of both Brighton and Huddersfield; the only sides to inflict Championship defeats on Burnley this season.
Should the pattern prevail, the Clarets look set for a tough January when Terriers, Owls and Gulls will descend on Turf Moor.
The last time Sean Dyche’s men walked away from a Championship fixture empty-handed, we were all enjoying a long hot summer, the English cricket team were running away with the Ashes and most Burnley supporters were worrying about whether we were going to be able to scrape together enough points to avoid dropping down a level.
A little over three months later, everyone’s digging out their big coats, the national cricket team have just been humiliated by their Australian counterparts and it is now seemingly statutory to preface any mention of Burnley with the phrase “surprise package.”
Except they no longer are.
You can’t expect to sit at the top of the table for two months, bag a brace of managerial awards and have your star striker called up to represent his country without attracting attention.
Whether Burnley’s recent stuttering run of form – three points from the last 12 – is down to managers doing their homework more thoroughly is a moot point, but it’s probably a contributing factor.
As is the prolonged absence of Dean Marney.
Few would have ear-marked the former Spurs man as a pivotal cog in the claret and blue machine in August.
Yet his range of passing, his tireless tenacity and his ability to supplement the attack when required have proved vital. David Edgar is doing a decent job in his lieu, but he’s an entirely different kind of player.
A lack of depth is the other issue. If the ‘A’ team don’t bring their ‘A’ game, the manager’s options are limited to say the least; which is why a lack of action in last week’s loan window was so frustrating.
Burnley face six games over the next 27 days and quality back-up will almost certainly be required at some point.
That the Clarets still sit in an automatic promotion berth after a relatively lean spell is largely thanks to the way they steam-rollered their way through the division during the first third of this campaign.
Here’s hoping consecutive home games will revive the club’s fortunes.
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