POUND for pound, after taking everything into consideration, Burnley’s draw at Watford on Saturday was quite possibly the single most crucial point of the season so far.
Going into the game with no less than four key players out through either injury or suspension – five including David Jones when he was taken ill – against a Hornets side who had won five out of their last six home matches was always going to be a tough test, so the pressure was on from the start.
But the exquisitely executed drawback and drive shot from man of the match Scott Arfield proved to be another big goal. With both Derby and QPR losing, that superb strike reinstated our 10-point divide, sending a near 2,000-strong away support into frenzy.
I’d been to a sunny St Albans before the game to explore The Church, The Castle, and the Ancient Verulam – and very good pubs they were too!
However, I gave the town’s betting shops a wide berth as housewives queued for their once-a-year trip to the bookies.
And what better reminder that the Championship is a marathon and not a sprint than on Grand National day.
In racecourse parlance ‘The Mighty Clarets’ trained by Sean Dyche are just approaching Canal Turn with only The Chair and the water jump to negotiate before crossing the finishing line.
From an initial 24 starters’ favourite Flying Foxes now looks likely to be the overall winner.
Nevertheless, the runners-up prize of in excess of £100million with a chance to compete in the elite Premier League pedigree challenge would be an amazing achievement for a massively priced 80/1 outsider.
We are taking a trip to the other side tonight.
No, it’s not some sort of paranormal experience, although a lot of Lancastrians might beg to differ.
It is, in fact, a journey over the Pennies to deepest South Yorkshire, where a Barnsley team battling tooth and nail to avoid the relegation trap door away our arrival.
It is never an easy fixture for the Clarets at Oakwell as our past records shows, when we won 2-1 there on Boxing Day 2010 for the first time in 78 years!
And you thought our record at Ewood was bad.
I’ve nothing against the town or its people, it’s just with our atrociously bad run on their patch I hope we never play them again.
I’m certainly not expecting a classic, as points are precious to both teams.
But hopefully Dyche’s men can do as they have all season and pick up another result in the fight for promotion.