Burnley squeezed past Aberdeen in the previous round of Europa League qualifying, and Kevin Hatchard believes their European dream will still be alive after Thursday's visit to Turkey.
"Sean Dyche has built Burnley's success on making them difficult to beat, and they are coming up against a club that won't necessarily select a full-strength side."
Istanbul Basaksehir v Burnley
Thursday August 9, 19:00
Avci's miracle-workers ready to take the next step
It's been an incredible journey for Istanbul Basaksehir in recent years. It wasn't that long ago that they were drawing three-figure crowds, labouring in the shadow of the Istanbul giants like Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Besiktas. With wily coach Abdullah Avci at the helm, Basaksehir have now established themselves as genuine title challengers in the Turkish Super Lig.
Having finished fourth in 2015 and 2016, they were runners-up in 2017, and finished third last season, just three points behind winners Galatasaray. Former Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor made an impact in attack, rattling in 15 league goals.
As a result of their recent success, Basaksehir have been building up European experience. In last season's Europa League group stage, they fielded second-string sides, but still nearly reached the last 32 after a late surge. They were unbeaten in their three UEL games at the Fatih Terim Stadium.
Adebayor is far from being the only ex-Premier League player in the Basaksehir ranks. Gael Clichy, Eljero Elia and Gokhan Inler are in the squad, and the signing of former Barcelona and Atletico Madrid midfielder Arda Turan was a real coup.
Istanbul trip a test of Dyche's commitment
Burnley's astonishing seventh-place finish in the Premier League last season means that they have fully earned this European campaign, but with the domestic season's big kick-off just days away, we're about to find out how committed Clarets boss Sean Dyche is to the Europa League cause.
Having a selected a strong side for the extra-time win over Aberdeen in the previous round, Dyche now has to decide whether to do so again, with a Premier League opener at Southampton on the horizon this Sunday. The Burnley boss appears to be relishing the opportunity to impress on the continental stage, and after the Battle of Britain against the Dons, he sees this as more of a genuine European tie which will excite the fans.
The goalkeeping options have been boosted by the signing of Manchester City keeper Joe Hart, but at time of writing it is unclear whether he'll be registered in time to make his debut. Ex-Manchester United stopper Anders Lindegaard is an experienced back-up.
It's worth remembering that Burnley have built their success on being incredibly hard to beat. They lost just 12 of their 38 Premier League matches, and conceded just 39 goals. On the road, they lost just three of their final 11 away games of the Premier League campaign, and they won three of the last five.
Istanbul Basaksehir are trading at [2.1] to win this, and that seems too short to me. They are yet to start their season, while Burnley's clashes with Aberdeen will have sharpened the minds of the Premier League side. Both coaches are very astute, but Dyche's ability to negate opposing attacks and keep a game tight could come in handy here.
Basaksehir are experienced and dangerous on home soil, but they failed to shine in Europe last term, and there's no guarantee that Avci will select a full-strength side ahead of Sunday's Super Lig opener against Trabzonspor. Turan is expected to miss the game, and he might not be the only big name absent from the teamsheet.
I'll lay the hosts.
My gut feeling is that Burnley will dig in