Turf Moor quagmire 'won't help us' says Cotterill

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The Independent Football

The Burnley manager Steve Cotterill has insisted that the heavy Turf Moor pitch will have no effect on Liverpool in the two sides' rearranged third-round FA Cup match tonight.

The Burnley manager Steve Cotterill has insisted that the heavy Turf Moor pitch will have no effect on Liverpool in the two sides' rearranged third-round FA Cup match tonight.

The original tie was postponed 45 minutes before kick-off 11 days ago as an area of the pitch was ruled unplayable by the referee Mark Clattenburg. The Clarets' 0-0 home draw with Reading at the weekend passed without incident and, despite rain in the North- west, no similar problems are anticipated.

Cotterill rejected suggestions yesterday that the boggy surface would act as "a leveller", saying: "I think that players adjust now, but the pitches don't quite get into the state they did in the days of the famous Radford goal at Hereford. Players are stronger, they're more athletic and they tend to plough through the mud.

"People ask me, 'Would you like a muddy pitch against Liverpool?' and the answer is, 'No'. We play better when we haven't got a muddy pitch."

The Clarets' injury problems have not eased in spite of the 11-day wait and while the midfielder Micah Hyde has returned from suspension, their defender Michael Duff and utility man Graham Branch are both likely to miss out with injuries sustained at the weekend. The on-loan West Bromwich midfielder James O'Connor is ineligible. The first-team coach Mark Yates, 38, will again be among the substitutes.

In tonight's other tie, a third-round replay between Blackpool and Leicester, the Foxes' goalkeeper Ian Walker is expected to make his first appearance since injuring a knee in August. Keith Gillespie is available after suspension but Danny Tiatto, Matt Elliott and Jason Wilcox are all injured.

Blackpool are facing a keeping crisis with the on-loan Brad Jones refused permission to play, Lee Jones injured and Kevin Stuhr-Ellegaard struggling with flu.

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