Date: 13th April 2009 at 9:52am
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The Clarets continue their final countdown to the end of the season this Easter Monday with a tricky game at Ninian Park against high-flying Cardiff City

Setting the Scene

Burnley are enjoying a good run in the League at the moment and have now gone seven games without defeat. This excellent form has seen them maintain a place in the play-off positions and they are currently in 6th place on 69 points. Crucially with Preston losing on Saturday in the local derby against Blackpool at Deepdale and with the Clarets securing all three points at home to QPR we have now opened a seven point gap over 7th placed Swansea and 8th placed Preston and look on course for the play-offs. One more win for the Clarets could secure a place in the play-offs for definite with just three matches to play after today.

Getting three points against Cardiff today though will be difficult, especially on their home soil.

Cardiff still have hopes of automatic promotion and are currently in fourth spot, six points behind second place Birmingham with a game in hand. The Bluebirds are also currently in form and have only lost one of their last six matches (at home to 3rd place Sheffield United).The scene is set therefore for a cracker of a game.

One Clarets player that has been ruled out by Coyle for this game is Steven Thompson. He is still struggling with the ankle ligament injury that has now kept him sidelined for the last five games. It is a shame really as Thompson would have been up for this game against his former teammates.

Martin Paterson was also still feeling his hamstring in our last match against Queens Park Rangers but did come on from the bench late in the game. He is likely to feature against Cardiff but Owen Coyle might be tempted to keep Patio on the bench again and give Jay Rodriguez his second start of the season after being given his full debut on Saturday.

Brian Jensen had five stitches in his eye on Saturday but is expected to play today and there a few other minor knocks and scrapes that are not expected to affect selection.

Owen Coyle is likely to select the same sixteen for the fifth game running and it just looks to be a decision on who will start up front, Paterson or Rodriguez.

The team will therefore look something like this:

Jensen, Williams, Carlisle, Caldwell, Kalvenes, Alexander, Eagles, McCann, Elliott, Blake, Paterson (or Rodriguez)

Subs: Penny, Duff, McDonald, Gudjonsson, Rodriguez (or Paterson)

Cardiff City Team News:

Roger Johnson and Michael Chopra are doubtful after they sustained injuries in Cardiff`s 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Centre-back Johnson was hit in the throat by Claude Davis and had trouble breathing. He was sent to hospital over the weekend and is only expected to come out today.

Michael Chopra hobbled off after 37 minutes in the Palace game and will undergo a late fitness test.

Player to watch: Roger Johnson?

We asked the Vital Cardiff Editor, Rhodri which player we should be watching but this was before the Cardiff game against Palace and he selected Roger Johnson saying ‘For my money, the best defender in the Championship and vitally important for us. Excellent in the air and on the ground – he’s also a big threat at set-pieces.` Obviously the player is now a doubt following his throat injury but we wish him a speedy recovery.

If he doesn`t make today`s clash then for my money the main players we will need to keep in check will be their twin strike threat of Ross McCormack (19 Championship goals this season) who scored a brace in the Palace game and Jay Bothroyd (11 Championship goals)

Burnley Team News:

Former Bluebirds striker, Steven Thompson is ruled out of this clash, still suffering with his ankle ligament injury. Owen Coyle will need to decide if Martin Paterson is fit enough to start after a niggly hamstring problem. He is likely to at least be named on the bench and Jay Rodriguez, if so could be given his second start.

Player to watch: Clarke Carlisle

Carlisle and indeed all the back four will need to be on form today to snuff out the threat from Cardiff`s attack. The Bluebirds have bagged 8 goals in their last three matches.

Carlisle might also fancy his chances at the other end from set pieces. He has scored a few goals with his head this season from that situation and helped one on its way in via Eagles against QPR on Saturday. In the same match he also had a header hit the post and another scrambled off the line.

Last Time We Met

We fought out a 2-2 draw at Turf Moor last December with Blake and Thompson getting our goals. Last season back in October 2007 we lost 2-1 at Ninian Park, a goal by Akinbiyi not being enough.

Ref Watch:

Premier League referee Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

Match Prediction:

I am hoping we can get at least a point today and will go with 1-1

Next Match

Another tricky game to follow for the Clarets with in-form side, Sheffield United the visitors to Turf Moor on Monday 20th April (7:45pm Kick-off)

This is the rearranged game, originally scheduled for Saturday, forced upon us by Sky Sports after they decided late in the day that they wanted to cover the match on TV.