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It’s not all about the strikers, warns former Burnley skipper
CHARLIE Austin has 47 per cent of Burnley’s Championship goals this season, Jordan Rhodes exactly half of Blackburn Rovers’.
Austin has been on target in 20 of the 32 league games he has been involved in, Rhodes has scored in 20 of his 18 league appearances – including two for former club Huddersfield.
Former Burnley defender Steven Caldwell, now with Birmingham City, has so far succeeded where many have failed, in snuffing the sharp shooters out, having faced Burnley twice and Blackburn once to date.
The former Clarets captain does not confess to having all the answers for stopping two of the division’s most feared front men. But he knows that concentration is key.
“They’re quite similar as strikers – both want to get in the box and score goals, that’s their strength,” said the Scot.
“Jordan works on the last shoulder and plays like that, Charlie is more of a target striker then Rhodes with the size he has.
“But they both know where the goals are.
“You’ve got to concentrate on playing against them because they come alive when crosses come in.
“The most important thing is concentration when opportunities come their way.”
But while he accepts they are the key men for both clubs, he feels it would be foolish to put all the focus on the two front men.
“It’s never just a battle about two people,” warned Caldwell, who has helped Birmingham take five points from a possible nine in his three meetings with East Lancashire clubs so far.
“As strikers they will probably be two of the most important players for the team all season, but there are 11 guys out on the park for each team.”
But Caldwell feels the occasion will be a leveller.
“It’s important Burnley try to quieten the crowd and ease themselves into the game,” said the 32-year-old, who feels the recent poor form of both sides will have no bearing on Sunday’s clash.
“It’s all set for an interesting match. The fans will be up for it, obviously, hoping their side can finish above the other.
“Blackburn will be disappointed with their season. I felt they would be up there at the top.
“They will be smarting from missing out on the FA Cup semi finals. The fans will be looking for a response in their league form, but this could be a good time for Burnley to capitalise.”
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