Coyle ‘will need tin hat’ says Fletcher in return to Burnley on the opening day (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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Coyle ‘will need tin hat’ says Fletcher in return to Burnley on the opening day
EX-CLARET Paul Fletcher is anticipating a sell-out for Burnley’s opening day clash with Bolton Wanderers, and a cauldron of noise for Owen Coyle.
The former Clarets boss is set to return to Turf Moor for the second time since leaving the club for the Reebok halfway through their Premier League season.
After suffering rele-gation on the final day of last term, Champion-ship life begins with a mouthwatering derby as Coyle brings Bolton to Burnley again.
And former Clarets striker and chief executive Fletcher believes it is a fixture to whet the appetite for the rest of the 2012/13 campaign.
“It’s a fairytale; a fantastic start to the season and just what the Burnley supporters would relish,” said Fletcher, whose career started with hometown club Bolton before he joined the Clarets in March 1971.
“I’d expect a full house and I think the Burnley supporters will be in full voice.
“It will be tin hat time for Owen Coyle again,” added Fletcher, referring to the hostile atmosphere which awaited Coyle when he was drawn against his old club in the League Cup two years ago.
On that occasion Wade Elliott scored to secure a 1-0 win for the Clarets.
“It was a pretty special night when we turned them over. Hopefully we can do that again. I think it’s a great start,” Fletcher continued.
“I don’t think Owen would have relished visiting Turf Moor any time, but I’m sure he’ll be glad to get it out of the way quickly.”
The game also means a return for former players Chris Eagles and Tyrone Mears, who were bought by Bolton last summer, and former captain and coach Steve Davis, who followed Coyle to the Reebok in January 2010 as part of his backroom team.
“Any player who leaves a club is generally not liked any more. That’s football,” said Fletcher.
“I remember as a player myself, when I went back to the old Burnden Park after I was sold I thought I would get a nice warm welcome, and it was completely the opposite.
“They will all get a rough ride.”
Meanwhile, manager Eddie Howe is looking forward to sampling the first of six north west derbies, with games against Blackpool and bitter rivals Blackburn Rovers to come.
“For both sets of supporters it’s a fantastic game and it really gets the season off with a bang,” he said.
“What makes this year a great season for our supporters is that there is a lot of local pride at stake and we will be doing our best to come out on top in those games.”
Burnley host the first East Lancashire derby with Steve Kean’s Blackburn on December 1, and travel to Ewood Park on March 16, while the games against Blackpool take place on October 20 (home) and April 13 (away).
Howe added: “When the fixtures come out people are raring to go and we certainly are as a coaching staff.
“Hopefully we will come back a better team than last year, learn our lesson and improve.”