A day with no tiger in the tank

Thorn in the side: Chris McCann fends off Portsmouth's Dave Kitson
Thorn in the side: Chris McCann fends off Portsmouth's Dave Kitson

ARGUMENT has raged - well, raged is a bit strong, but you know what I mean - over the performance of Portsmouth’s Dave Kitson last Saturday.

In yet another match against Pompey where a big, strong and fit side frustrated anything and everything Burnley could throw at them, to me he seemed to be the director of operations. He was a thorn in Burnley’s side all afternoon, which explains why he’s fairly disliked when he appears at Burnley. Years ago I can remember World Cup winner Alan Ball turning up late in his career with Southampton, and being roundly hounded by the crowd precisely because we knew he’d do us damage.

Kitson directed Portsmouth’s play, and no-one could have denied the south coast outfit a point. The return of Burnley’s habit of conceding late in the day put a dampener on the previous three-match winning run as in all honest the Clarets didn’t look as though they would score even if they played until Sunday.

It was a game in which the midfield lacked bite and whichever permutation of strikers Eddie Howe tried, and he rang the changes, with a welcome appearance by Martin Patterson, it didn’t seem to make any difference.

Burnley have had difficulty in dealing with teams set out like Portsmouth as described above in previous seasons. It is a game plan that needs to be worked on.

Midfield bite was something John Deary had in abundance 20 years ago, and the tigerish midfielder was in town on Saturday with John Francis and Roger Eli to launch the new One Night In York DVD.

It’s a reworking of the famous old Mikron video, which sold in large numbers to mark Burnley’s fourth division title win in 1991-92, which marked the end of a seven year stay in the league’s bottom division.

John D didn’t take any prisoners. Watch the footage then ask York keeper Dean Kiely!

Someone in the the combative Deary’s mould would have been just the job on Saturday.