Struggling Coventry City are the visitors to Turf Moor on Saturday with the Clarets looking for their third successive win.
Games are coming thick-and-fast at the moment as we enter the final stages of the season. Following victories over the Easter period against Brighton at home on Good Friday and Doncaster away on Easter Monday, the Clarets are now seeking their third victory in a row with Coventry City the visitors to Turf Moor this Saturday.
Remarkably four wins out of the last five games has seen the Clarets come within a remote chance of reaching the play-offs again. They stand currently in 12th spot on 59 points just six points behind the current sixth placed club, Cardiff City. Cardiff though could be leapfrogged by Brighton tonight if they can defeat high-flying Reading at the Amex Stadium and that would mean we would then be seven points off the play-offs.
With just four games of the season remaining (including Coventry on Saturday) and twelve points on offer, a late rally and four wins could yet see the Clarets finish in the top six . Realistically though that is a tall order bearing in mind we also still have to play promotion-chasing Leicester and Blackpool away. Nevertheless a good end to the season and a Top 10 finish could lift spirits after a rather indifferent season in which our home form has let the club down. We already have ten victories on the road however for the first time 2001-02 leaving Clarets fans wondering what might have happened had we not had such a disappointing season at home!
The Sky Blues come to Turf Moor deep in relegation trouble. They are third from bottom already four points adrift of safety. Burnley could virtually seal their fate if they win on Saturday and pick up their fifth double of the season.
It has been a torrid season for Coventry and gaffer, Andy Thorn must be a worried man. They crucially lost 3-1 away to fellow strugglers, Bristol City on Easter Monday and are now four points behind the Robins who in 21st spot have now put some clear blue water between the two clubs.
Their recent form has not been too bad and indeed they have only lost one game in eight matches picking up two wins and five draws. In terms of their away form they have won two, drawn two and lost two of their last six matches on the road picking up an impressive win away to Hull and a draw at Cardiff.
Come on you Clarets, no slip ups let`s keep the run going!
Burnley Team News:
Ben Mee looks to be sidelined for the rest of the season with a small fracture in his back but Daniel Lafferty, who was on the bench on Easter Monday could be set to make a start at left back after recovering from a hamstring injury.
News is awaited concerning Marvin Bartley who picked up a hamstring tweak in the Good Friday game at home to Brighton and missed the trip to Doncaster on Easter Monday.
Jay Rodriguez (groin/hip) and Martin Paterson (hamstring) look set to remain sidelined.
Player to watch: Charlie Austin
Austin is hot on the heels of the injured Jay Rodriguez to become Burnley`s leading goal-scorer this season. After his goal from the penalty spot on Easter Monday away to Doncaster, he now has 16 goals just five behind Jay Rod with four games to play. He has also recently notched up his first career hat-trick after thumping three past Portsmouth at Fratton Park at the end of March. The former Swindon striker is certainly on form and banging in goals for fun at the moment. Let`s hope it continues against Coventry.
Coventry City Team News:
Coventry are down to just five fit senior defenders with Nathan Cameron (knee injury and surgery) and Richard Wood (knee injury requiring surgery in summer) ruled out for the rest of the season. They have also been unable to recall James McPake from his loan spell at Hibernian due to different loan rules in Scotland.
Player to watch: Gary McSheffrey
Left winger, Gary McSheffrey is currently Coventry`s joint leading goal-scorer with nine goals this season, a statistic he shares with striker, Lukas Jutkiewicz.
Jutkiewicz now though of course plays for Middlesbrough after signing for them in January this year initially on a loan basis. He completed a permanent move to the Riverside for a fee in the region of £1.3m just after Boro played Burnley that month at the Riverside and lost 2-0.
McSheffrey is in his second spell at the club and was indeed born locally in Coventry and began his professional career at the Ricoh. He became a Birmingham player in August 2006 but rejoined his home-town club after being released by the Blues in July 2010.
Team & Tactics:
All the Burnley players seemed to come through the Doncaster game without any further injuries although we await confirmation.
Ben Mee looks likely to be out for the rest of the season after picking up a small, non-serious fracture to his back but with Daniel Lafferty being an unused sub against Donny, we could see the Irishman line-up in the starting eleven against Coventry on Saturday releasing Ross Wallace from that role. Lafferty would appear to now be fit after his hamstring problem and the additional rest on Saturday will probably have helped his full recovery.
It will be nice to see Ross Wallace again in his normal position but we shall have to wait and see what happens.
Marvin Bartley was also missing from the sixteen against Doncaster on Easter Monday having picked up a hamstring tweak in the previous game at home to Brighton. We await news of his progress. I suspect Eddie Howe may well keep with his current strike force even if Jay Rod (thigh/hip) and Paterson (hamstring) are fit to play. Both strikers have impressed of late and found the back of the net with some regularity.
Once again we have to make assumptions until we know the latest status regarding some of the injuries but I would think the following line up would need some beating:
Grant, Trippier, Edgar, Duff, Lafferty, Wallace, Marney, McCann, Stanislas, Ings, Austin
Subs: Jensen, McQuoid, Howieson, Hewitt, McCartan (or Fletcher or ANO young gun)
Confirmation is awaited.
Coventry struggling and Burnley having found a new lease of life and looking for a third successive win and fourth victory in five games? It is just the sort of statistic that traditionally would lead to an upset especially when you look at our home form in general this season. I am having none of it so 3-0 Clarets!
We have two away games of the season remaining starting with a trip to the King Power Stadium to face promotion-hopefuls Leicester City on the night of Tuesday 17th April (Kick-Off-7:45pm). On the following Saturday (21st) we then play another club hoping to reach the play-offs and it`s a local derby at that! Yes, we travel to Bloomfield Road to play Blackpool in our last away game of the season.