DEFENDER Clarke Carlisle is hoping Turf Moor enhances its reputation as a Premier League graveyard as the Clarets prepare for their Carling Cup tie against Fulham tonight.
In recent seasons, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Fulham themselves have come unstuck at Burnley’s home ground in various cup competitions.
And with the Clarets unbeaten in their last six games, expectations among the Clarets faithful is sure to be sky high tonight.
The fact that the Cottagers haven’t registered a win at Turf Moor since April 1951 will only serve to raise hopes of an upset against Roy Hodgson’s men.
And Carlisle admitted that the Clarets were relishing the chance to progress in one of the major competitions.
He said: “Every year there’s a team who surprise everyone and go a long way in this competition and there’s no reason it can’t be Burnley, no reason whatsoever. “To do it would be massive. Those behind the scenes will be looking at the revenue from the ties, but from the playing staff’s point of view it’s always nice for people to sit up and talk notice of what you’re doing because that means you’re being successful – and one thing you want to be is successful.
“There’s only about five or six per cent of professional footballers ever get to win anything and if you’re fortunate to be one of those, it’s something to be revered, and we’re striving for that every day.”
But after the visit of Arsenal at the turn of the year in the FA Cup, Carlisle said he and his team-mates were looking forward to pitting their wits against top-flight opposition.
He added: “It’s a massive test. They have very good players and Fulham have started the season very brightly. They’ve put in some good shifts and got some good results. It’s a change in mind-set for the bigger teams in the Carling Cup and I think that’s why you see so many going out in the earlier stages.
“I’m not sure whether Fulham will be one of the teams who will be focusing on it as a way into Europe because you generally see that middle band of Premier League clubs focus on the Carling Cup and I personally think that Fulham fall into that band.
“So I think you’ll see them going great guns for the game and it will be a good marker for us.
“To be fair, there won’t be many people who like coming here on tonight. I hated coming to Burnley on a wet Tuesday night.
“We’ve put in some good performances and now this can be a little breath of fresh air where the lads can relax and show what they are capable of.
“As long as we’re as defensively-minded as we have been in as much as defending as a team, taking no chances and then making the most of the opportunities going forward I think it will be an excellent game to watch.”
Fulham striker Bobby Zamora could be in the Cottagers’ side to face the Clarets tonight, and Carlisle said he was looking forward to facing an old foe.
“You ask any professional, they want to play against the best players in their league and in their country and they want to play at the highest level they possible can,” he said.
“So when you get a chance to put yourself up against Premier League players you really enjoy it.
“It’s funny because when you have seen players who were in leagues below you and then they rise to the top, you have got to ask yourself ‘Why can’t I do the same?’ and on the other side of the coin, I have played against Zamora half a dozen times and obviously he’s grown as a player in stature and being at the bigger clubs and playing with better players that will happen.
“But he’s still the same Bobby Zamora I marked when he was at Brighton and I’m just looking forward it.”