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Clarets boss: Bolton clash is no grudge match
EDDIE Howe insists he is focusing only on his players, rather than the politics, as Burnley kick-off the new Championship campaign with a grudge match.
But he hopes the Turf roar can inspire them on derby day.
The Clarets are set to come out to a wall of noise, as the first fixture against Bolton Wanderers means an unwelcome return for former boss Owen Coyle.
Fans, still mindful of the Scot's decision to quit halfway through the Premier League season, are preparing to vent ongoing frustration at their former manager.
Howe is not prepared to get involved in the disputes.
The Burnley manager is, however, determined to give the Clarets' crowd something to cheer.
“I don't think it's hard for me to take the politics out of the situation because I've got no direct link to it,” he said.
“For me I'm looking at Bolton the team not anything else, very much focusing on their 11 players and how we can combat them and beat them. I'll let everyone else deal with the atmosphere.”
But Howe admits he has never been involved in a game quite like tomorrow’s Lancashire hotpot promises to be.
“Probably not. I think it will probably be quite a unique game in that respect, but I'm looking forward to it,” he added.
“This is what we're in the game for – games like this. From our perspective when we saw the league and the teams that will be in it there are certain games that you are looking forward to being involved in. I can't wait for that one. This is why we work as hard as we do to try to make sure we perform in these games.
“I think it will be an eye-opener for a lot of the lads really, especially the younger guys.
“This is the level and the experience you'll go through here and you've got to be mentally tough and be able to handle it.”
Howe hopes a vocal atmosphere can bring out the best in his players.
“You can use that atmosphere to really galvanise yourselves and your team and to give a performance that you perhaps didn't know you were capable of,” he said.
“That's the key to the home support. We want to try to make it as difficult as we can for Bolton.
“I'm sure they'll bring their supporters as well but there'll certainly be more Burnley fans than their fans and we want to get it rocking on Saturday if we can to really inspire the lads to perform.”
BLOB: CHRIS McCann is rated 50-50 for Saturday's showdown with Bolton Wanderers, after picking up a minor injury at Port Vale.
The Clarets midfielder went over on his ankle in the Capital One Cup first round win on Tuesday.
Although he saw the game out, McCann will be monitored before manager Eddie Howe picks his starting XI for the derby.
There are also question marks over whether new signing Brian Stock has the fitness levels to start two games in a week, after training and game-time was kept to a minimum before left Doncaster Rovers last week, through their fears of him sustaining injury and scuppering the deal.
Martin Paterson reported back to Gawthorpe from international duty in good shape, and in goalscoring form after grabbing a late equaliser for Northern Ireland against Finland at Windsor Park on Wednesday night.
Keith Treacy had to pull out of the Republic of Ireland squad after suffering a groin strain in pre-season training. Neither he or Marvin Bartley, who is recovering from a stress fracture in his ankle, will be considered for selection this weekend.
Of McCann, Howe said: “I think he'll be keen to play. He did roll his ankle so hopefully he can come through that, but we'll only play Chris if he's 100 per cent fit as we would any other player.
“There's determination right through the squad, everyone wants to be in the starting 11 for that first game.”