CLARETS hero Ian Britton thinks Burnley can catch his old club Chelsea cold on the opening day of the Premier League season.

Burnley’s return to the top flight starts with a taxing home game against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, with the game scheduled to take place on August 16 barring a switch for television.

The Clarets will be hoping for a repeat of their shock victory over Manchester United in their first home match in the Premier League in 2009/10, and Britton thinks it may not be the worst time to play Chelsea.

The 60-year-old, who is battling cancer, made more than 250 appearances for the Blues in a decade at Stamford Bridge before becoming famous in East Lancashire as the man whose goal kept Burnley in the Football League in 1987.

“It’s about a tough game as you could get to start the season, but you don’t always know what will happen in the first game,” said Britton.

“Teams are finding their feet and apart from Cesc Fabregas coming in we don’t know yet who will be coming and going at Chelsea.

“It will be difficult against Chelsea, but Burnley beat Manchester United 1-0 with that fantastic Robbie Blake volley last time in the Premier League. I can’t see why they can’t do it again.

“Even if they could get a point in that game, it would really stand them in good stead.”

Britton has great affection for both clubs but remains based in Burnley and admits he will be cheering on the Clarets when Chelsea arrive at Turf Moor.

“I’ve got good memories of Chelsea but I will be leaning slightly towards Burnley,” said the Scot, who married his partner Eileen in February.

“I did the half-time draw at the end of the season, and when Burnley got promoted I said to put my name down to do the half-time draw for the Chelsea game, so hopefully I will get the call.

“Promotion was another fantastic achievement for Burnley.

“It’s important to start well and they have some difficult games early on.

“But Burnley didn’t lose many games at home last season, defensively they were very secure. I think they conceded pretty much half as many as they did the season before.

“I know it will be different in the Premier League but hopefully they can do well again.”