Southampton travels to a tricky Burnley side on Saturday, and we took the opportunity to learn a bit more about the Clarets from long-time supporter and season-ticket holder Katie Williams.
Q: Early this year, Burnley was on the wrong side of a 3-1 scoreline at St Mary’s. Your thoughts on the Clarets’ performance?
I do believe Saints were the better side in that game. Our away form has been non-existent and I wasn’t really surprised by the defeat. Obviously disappointed, as I knew we were capable of much more but we didn’t seem to turn up.
Q: Burnley recently collected wins against two potential relegation candidates. Currently eight points from the drop, is there a more comforting feeling at the club that their Premier League status will be maintained?
Every win is vital but picking wins up against potential relegation candidates is extremely important in my opinion. They are the games you look at when the fixtures are released and you expect to pick up three points, though it’s not always as easy as that but it is fantastic when it happens.
I think safety looks promising and I feel confident in the Burnley side. The players put 110% into their matches and the home form is something for other teams to fear. We need to start picking up points from away games, however, and I imagine it is something that Sean [Dyche] and the team are well aware of. If we pick up our away form I don’t see why we can’t stay up.
Q: What’s different about this season as opposed to 2014/15 when Burnley was relegated after just one season? What was the biggest lesson learnt?
A lot is different, I think financially the club are in a better position and even though fans don’t really see that side of things I think it’s a positive for the club, as financial stability is important.
We also have a stronger squad, I look at the subs bench on a match day and all of them are strong players I don’t really think we had that back in 14/15, we were reliant on three or four key players and that isn’t enough to keep you up. There is an amazing atmosphere within the club — the players believe, the manager believes and, most importantly, the fans believe.
Q: Burnley has played particularly well at Turf Moor. What makes it such a difficult ground for opponents?
I’ve heard a lot of fans say that it’s an oldish ground — the changing rooms are stuck in an era and this is an unnerving thing for players who are paid the big bucks. I am not sure I entirely agree with that but I can see some sense in it. The fans are key to our home wins, as they are always 100% behind the team and it’s quite off putting for the other team sometimes to have such a determined, passionate crowd.
Q: I have to ask … Andre Gray really emerged to the greater footballing world after scoring twice against Liverpool, but was suspended after tweets from 2012 surfaced. Do you feel the FA handed the situation correctly?
The FA was quite harsh in my opinion. It all emerged after he had a successful game and I completely think he was in the wrong but I do think it could have perhaps been a little less harsh towards him. Luckily he has come through the situation positively but it really could have negatively impacted his career, but like I say, what he said was wrong.
Q: How has he been viewed since then, as obviously he’s on a tremendous run of form at the moment?
I do think due to the remorse he showed and the openness he has had with his past life, people have seen beyond it and seen his behaviour as something in the past, which he severely regrets. Nobody agrees with that kind of behaviour but he admitted his fault and the only thing that can be done from a situation like that is to move on, which everybody has done.
Q: What’re your thoughts on Southampton to this point in the season?
I think they’re a little unpredictable but they are definitely a strong side and I think it will be an exciting match.
Q: Aside from Gray’s scoring ability, who is a player Saints should be concerned about?
I think Saints should be concerned about Steven Defour. He is creative in the midfield and just a great player. If Joey [Barton] plays, I think he could be another one to be concerned about because he’s a strong player and a strong character, who will feel that he has something to prove in his first returning home game.
Q: Your prediction?
I’m predicting a 1-1 draw.