Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Welcome to Turf Moor, Andre Bikey

Defeat at Stoke on the opening day was disappointing but expected. We matched them in open play but you have to defend set pieces well at the Britannia Stadium and we didn't. Two sloppy moments cost us the chance of a result. We'll have to be more streetwise than that if we're to survive this season.

Owen Coyle was already looking to bolster his back line and today he's made Andre Bikey, of Reading, his latest signing. Bikey will be well known to Clarets fans after his hilarious antics in the first leg of the play-off semi-final back in May.

First he conceded the penalty from which we scored the only goal by pulling back Steven Thompson, and then he was sent off for stamping on Robbie Blake. Bikey then wrestled his shirt off, hurled it to the ground and threw the mother of all tantrums before leaving the pitch. Reading missed him badly in the second leg, which we won comfortably 2-0, and he's not played competitively for them since due to the extended suspension he received for his antics.

Despite his questionable temperament, Bikey is exactly the kind of player we need. He's big, much bigger than any of our other defenders, very strong and also quick. He'll go straight into our back line for the Manchester United match tomorrow night as captain Steven Caldwell is still out injured. He'll be a tremendous addition and gives us a much better chance of survival.

It's always good to play United early. They famously start slowly and this season they have major defensive injury problems. Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Gary Neville and Jonny Evans are all doubts, so we'll have a great chance to cause a shock result on our home Premier League debut.

That said, Wayne Rooney looks like he's set for a huge season ahead of the World Cup and he's obviously the man we have to stop. I'm not sure Dimitar Berbatov will fancy it with 20,000 screaming locals baying for his blood, and Michael Owen looked rusty when he came on at Old Trafford on Sunday. But even with two of United's biggest playmakers in Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez leaving the club this summer, they're a phenomenal force and most people will be expecting us to get a pasting.

But I'm quietly confident that we can get a result. Bikey's signing will give us a lift and the atmosphere promises to be very special indeed.

This article was written for Fanzone on TimesOnline.

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