Burley and Mowbray to clash

EXTRA spice has been added to an already fierce Scottish rivalry as Tony Mowbray prepares to go head-to-head with his former mentor George Burley, writes Derek Davis.

EXTRA spice has been added to an already fierce Scottish rivalry as Tony Mowbray prepares to go head-to-head with his former mentor George Burley, writes Derek Davis.

Former Blues boss Burley was last night appointed manager of Heart of Midlothian and his first task will be to topple Mowbray's Hibernian and become top dogs in Edinburgh.

Burley will officially start his new role this morning and Mowbray is well aware that his old boss will be gunning for his Hibs side.

Mowbray last night told the EADT: “It is good for Scottish football and for Edinburgh when it is tight between Hibs and Hearts, as it was for a while last season. We ended up on top and took 11 points from them and no doubt George will come in and try and reverse that.”

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The Scottish manager of the year will pit his wits against the 2001 Premiership manager of the year and Mowbray believes Hearts have done well to secure his services.

He said: “Hearts a getting an exceptional manager. He knows how to build a team as he showed at Ipswich and just recently at Derby and he knows how to work with a tight budget.

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“I don't know how much he has got to work with, or if there are going to be funds available to him. In the end that might make the difference.”

Burley revealed he had his own boss at Ipswich, Sir Bobby Robson, had influenced his decision to join Hearts.

He said: “I spoke to one or two people and, of course, the key one was Sir Bobby Robson.

“It is no secret Bobby spoke to Hearts and he spoke volumes of the club's ambition. He said it would be a very good job for anybody.”

The former Scotland international insists he shares the ambition of major Hearts shareholder Vladimir Romanov, who wants to loosen the Old Firm's stranglehold on Scottish football.

Burley said: “I have been very impressed with everybody at Hearts. It was a decision I had to think long and hard about but I spoke to (Hearts chief executive) Phil Anderton, who I was really impressed with, I spoke to the board and to Mr Romanov.

“They are very ambitious and that was key for me to come back to Scotland. I wanted another challenge.

“It is going to be a massive challenge, but I am sure, with the board and Phil's help and the financial backing the club has, we can get back into Europe.

“That is the key for a club of Hearts' size and stature - to play in Europe and try to challenge towards the top of the table and I'm really looking forward to that.

“The fans have had a difficult time in the last year and, hopefully, we can bring them success and bring back the glory days and take it from there.”

Success for Jambo fans in the first instance is to get back the capital's bragging rights over Mowbray's Hibees.

Burley signed Mowbray for Ipswich from Celtic in 1995. Mowbray became his captain, ended his playing career with a goal at Wembley in the play-off final to take Town into the Premiership and was then moved into full-time coaching at Portman Road.

When Town sacked Burley in September, Mowbray took over for three games as caretaker-manager. The Scot came close to joining Stoke City as boss but decided against it and ended up at Derby County, initially as an interim manager.

The Rams avoided relegation by a point and the following season Burley took them to the play-offs, where they lost out to Preston. It was a behind-the-scenes bust-up that led to him resigning at Pride Park and Burley was interviewed for the vacancy at Millwall, which he declined.

While Burley was turning Derby County around, Mowbray enjoyed a hugely-successful first season at Easter Road, finishing third behind Rangers and Celtic and qualifying for the UEFA Cup.

That success at Hibs played a part in Hearts ditching John Robertson and the Jambos will hope that the master can overhaul his protege in putting them back on top of the New Firm tussle.

The two have not seen much of each other since the parting of the ways at Portman Road and, even when Burley was at Hibs' last game of the season against Rangers, when they won the title and Mowbray's side clinched a UEFA Cup place, the two did not manage to get a chance to speak.

Mowbray said: “I'm sure our paths will cross in Edinburgh. There are functions where both managers get invited to and it is important the two clubs do work together on things in a spirit of co-operation.”

The duo will not have to wait long before facing each other. Hearts' opening home game of the SPL season is against Hibs.

Jambos chairman George Foulkes was pleased to have brought the ex-Scotland international back to his home country.

“We are delighted to be in a position to bring George to Hearts. His track record in management is outstanding, and bringing him here is a significant coup,” he said.

“We have taken our time to find the right man, and in so doing have attracted a manager of real standing within the game who has a tremendous record at clubs like Ipswich Town and Derby County.

“We have every confidence that George Burley will take this football club forward into an exciting new era, both on and off the pitch.”

Burley will also come up against a former Town team-mate in the SPL next season. with Terry Butcher now boss at Motherwell.

n David Unsworth will NOT be returning to Ipswich Town. Although Joe Royle was keen to secure the former Everton defender after his loan spell at Portman Road last season, Unsworth's agent Hayden Evans last night confirmed he would not be going back.

But he did concede a move to newly-relegated Southampton was possible if they firmed up their interest, as seems likely.

Pompey chief executive Peter Storie also made it clear they were not prepared to subsidise Unsworth's wages for him to play for Ipswich again.

n DANNY Karbassiyoon has signed for Burnley after being released by Arsenal.

The young American played six games during loan sell with Ipswich in the middle part of the season. Karbassiyoon has agreed a two-year deal with Steve Cotterill's Clarets.

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