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Burnley FC blog: Coyle has plenty to lose on Turf trip
BRIAN Laws’ text to Owen Coyle must have pretty much summed up how the former Burnley boss was feeling after Saturday’s Carling Cup draw. It read simply, ‘Ouch’.
Of all the 62 possibilities in the third round draw, Burnley away must have been the one Coyle was dreading the most.
With the two teams now in separate divisions, he must have hoped the return to Turf Moor would not come for some time yet.
Instead it came in the first cup draw in which the two sides could have met.
The long walk from tunnel to dugout, a quirk of Turf Moor that previously allowed Coyle to lap up the adulation of the Longside, must now seem one of the most daunting tasks he has ever faced.
It is important that nothing happens on the night to damage the reputation of Burnley as a club, but it seems somewhat unlikely he will applauded.
Robbie Blake may be received a little more warmly.
Coyle has faced Burnley before, of course, just weeks after his unpopular defection to Bolton when the Clarets travelled to the Reebok Stadium for a Premier League match.
But this time it is different. This time he will not have the comfort of home advantage.
This time it is he that has everything to lose.
Coyle still had something to prove when the two sides faced each other at the Reebok.
The result would be the first indication of whether he had made the right decision.
But the Scot will feel his judgement was vindicated, first by that 1-0 win and then by Bolton surviving when Burnley could not. Coyle has the upper hand right now but defeat at Turf Moor in the Carling Cup would jeopardise that.
It is a result the Clarets will feel confident of inflicting, with the emotional baggage that hampered them both at the Reebok and during the run-in now largely evaporated.
The draw has echoes of Burnley versus Shrewsbury in 1992, when unpopular former Clarets boss John Bond was advised to stay away from Turf Moor for an FA Cup match.
Hopefully times have moved on a little since then but, even though it required a replay, Burnley got the victory they so badly wanted in that tie.
Few would be surprised if they beat Bolton too.