IN part two of his look at Burnley’s next opponents Reading, who travel to Turf Moor on Saturday, scout Phil Smith runs the rule over Royals’ striker Mathieu Manset.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was christened “super sub” throughout his time at Manchester United.
If Sir Alex Ferguson needed somebody to produce from the bench, then the current Molde manager was called upon.
Who can forget his toe poke against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League Final?
Reading and Manchester United may be poles apart, but in Mathieu Manset the Royals possess a weapon shaping up to be equally as deadly as the “baby-faced assassin”.
All five of his strikes for the Berkshire outfit have come from the bench.
Four have come in the final five minutes - proof that Reading pose a sizable threat beyond the starting eleven.
The visitors will line up in a 4-4-2 system. They began the season poorly, suffering five straight defeats. Their victory against Bristol City and point gained against Middlesbrough will not be dubbed as classics amongst the neutral.
However, as Burnley discovered at The Den, football is a results business and come Saturday, few will care about individual performances.
Burnley will need to be alert to the threat of Joseph Mills on the overlap (see diagram).
A combination between Mills, Mikele Leigertwood and Simon Church cannot be ruled out.
Adam Le Fondre will be the target of crossing opportunities.
The summer signing from Rotherham United will fake back post but arrive at near.
His first goal for Reading came from a Mills delivery, during his side’s 2-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers.
Jobi McAnuff, Jay Tabb, Leigertwood and Robson-Kanu are expected to line up in midfield. The nature of this selection indicates that Robson-Kanu will be involved in central penetrating runs. He will operate as a third midfielder between the lines, and look to penetrate the defensive unit.
Short build up will result in first pass to the defence.
From there the ball will be played into the feet of Leigertwood. He will operate a holding role and screen the defence. His distribution will be directed towards the flanks. Stamina will be crucial. As highlighted on Friday, I expect the workload of their midfield to be quite high, due to the deep defensive line likely to be utilised.
In the final third it will be evident that Church sits behind Le Fondre.
The Welsh international looks to feed the ball into his partner. The movement of the latter can be anticipated. It will be in front of the last defender. Kieran Trippier and Brian Easton must close inside to eliminate this threat.
“Chalk and cheese” is an appropriate term to describe Church and Le Fondre.
The former has to be classed as a centre forward, whilst Le Fondre is evidently a striker. Same thing? Absolutely not!
Part three will explore the threat our visitors pose from set pieces.
I also reveal the areas Burnley must exploit against the Royals this weekend.