Prior to this weekends match, I have been delighted to have been in touch with Adam Haworth at, the Burnley FC Blog, o ask him a few questions pertinent to both this fixture and his beloved Clarets.

There's nothing better than a game at home on Boxing Day to refresh your mood after a day confined to the inevitable commitments and over indulgence of Christmas Day.

Apart from the freezing conditions we've all had to endure this week, the outlook would suggest that the match will go ahead without any disruptions and I certainly can't wait.

History has been kind to us in this fixture, with Burnley unable to claim a victory at Oakwell since 16th April 1932. Yep, I'm kicking myself for publishing the fact, but that's the truth!

As a result of the postponement at Millwall, the other factor riding on this encounter may be answered too. Can the Reds become the first club to win 1,000 matches in the second tier of English football on Boxing Day 2010?

In both respects, I don't know if Mark Robins or the players are aware of just how much history rides on the outcome, but it promises to be more than three points at stake.

For those of you have been following the blog for some time now, you will have noticed that I try to freshen up the content as often as possible and will invite guests to post or to take part in Q&As where relevant. Prior to this weekends match, I have been delighted to have been in touch with Adam Haworth at, the Burnley FC Blog.

Whilst dedicated entirely to the Burnley FC cause, its a great site for the general football fan to read too and would recommend that you make a visit over there at some time in the future. We caught up with Adam to ask him a few questions pertinent to both this fixture and his beloved Clarets in general, I hope you enjoy the post.

Can you describe life as a Burnley FC fan over the last couple of years?

It's a very cliche'd phrase but the correct description would be up and down. In both physical and emotional meanings of the phrase. We've experienced promotion to, and subsequently relegation from the Premier League. It started so well, but as our then beloved manager swapped Burnley for Bolton it all turned a bit sour. The appointment of his successor, Brian Laws, was a surprise to some and many did not agree with his appointment. (more of that in the next question). Our relegation from the Premier League was not exactly a surprise given the circumstances, but as with every relegation it brought disappointment - but a renewed energy to bounce back.

Were you surprised when Brian Laws was appointed as the new boss at Burnley FC after the departure of Owen Coyle?

Brian Laws. Where do I start? It's a bit of a tricky question because there's so many different opinions on the man. Initially, I was surprised at his appointment. After all, a man who'd been sacked at a championship club just several months earlier taking charge of a Premier League side would raise a few eyebrows anywhere in the world. I must say, however, that taking the reins from Owen Coyle was always going to be an extremely difficult task. It has proved so, if not because of the way we have been playing recently, then because of the belief and support that Laws does - or doesn't in this case - have. Many fans, including me now, want to get rid, and perhaps that was always deemed to happen.

What were your pre-season expectations for Burnley and how are you fairing compared to those?

The expectations pre-season was always to be at least in the playoff places by Christmas. We are a good side with a strong team but currently, and for whatever reason that might be, we are underachieving. At the time of writing, we are sat in 12th place in the league - this means we're as close to relegation as we are to being in sixth place. But still, this only goes to show what a tight league we're in.

Ahead of our game on Boxing Day, how do you rate your chances of winning?

We're very close together in the table, and so hopefully this means we're in for a close - and entertaining - game. If we were at home, I'd say we should win this easily, but as we're away, it's a totally different situation. I don't know if you know about our away form, but let's just say it's not the best in the world. Having not won away in the league since April this year (against Hull, where we won 4-1) we're still searching for that away win. Fingers crossed though...

As a Burnley FC fan, tell us your worst experience, best experience and hopes for the future?

Worst experience: Close to call between relegation and Owen Coyle's departure. Coyle's departure gutted (probably) every single fan of Burnley Football Club. The nerve it must have taken to walk out on the many of thousands of fans that he'd previously told how the fans and himself are 'in it together' amongst other complete lies. It's a very touchy topic amongst us fans, and why shouldn't it be. If it was Easter, it'd be totally adequate to call him Judas Iscariot. However, it's christmas, so it's not as adequate. Nevertheless, it's still totally fitting of a man who betrayed a whole load of fans, as well as the staff (not including his back room staff- he took them with him) he worked with.

Best Experience: Play-Off Final at Wembley. Promotion to the Premier League. Inspiring Stuff. I think that just about covers it.

Hopes for the Future: Return to the Premier League without a doubt. I don't care whether it's under Brian Laws or Brian Blessed, but as long as we can establish ourselves as a mid-table - or even better(?) - Premier League side, it doesn't matter.

What would you say your squad’s strengths are?

Quite honestly, I'd say our squad are extremely skilled at losing leads. We've lost or drawn after leading the game, around five times this season. It's a problem.

On a good note: we've got a nice mix of experience and youth in our squad. More so with the addition of John Guidetti - a young swiss player who recently signed on loan from Manchester City.

Who is Burnley’s star player, squad clown and undervalued gem, in your eyes?

Star Player: Andre Bikey in defence - he's recently been out with an injury, but started the season as a player comparable (both looks wise and as a man) to B.A Baracus of 'The A Team'

Undervalued Gem: I don't know about undervalued but he's certainly a gem - Jay Rodriguez. He's a local lad and has broken in to the first team consistently this season. He always tries his hardest, and sometimes his efforts are fruitful.

Squad Clown: I can't really think of one to be quite honest. Although Chris Eagles is always doing funny dance goal celebrations.

If you could have any one Barnsley player for your starting XI, who would it be?

Adam Hammill looks a good player. The stats are impressive with seven goals so far. Here's hoping that he doesn't score against us. As a team, we need someone who can convert chances, and perhaps Hammill would do this.

What is your opinion about Barnsley FC as a club, and as a team?

Barnsley (annoyingly often confused with Burnley) certainly have a rich heritage, with the ups and downs of recent times. Like us, Barnsley suffered from the collapse of ITV Digital so I can sympathise with you there. As a team, you're breathing right down our necks at the minute. If I'm honest I haven't seen too much of gameplay from Barnsley, but the goals I have watched have been fairly well crafted.
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Ian Wilkinson

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Adam Haworth said...

Thanks go to Wilky for the opportunity - it was my pleasure to answer a few questions. Thank you, and I wish all at On The Ponty End a very merry Christmas.