Date: 24th November 2012 at 8:59am
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The Clarets travel to the KC Stadium this Saturday looking to prevent a third successive defeat but can they return with three points against a rampant Hull side currently 4th in the table?

The Pre-amble:

After a promising start under new manager, Sean Dyche with two successive home wins against Wolves and Leeds, the Clarets have hit the buffers in their last two games returning empty handed from Portman Road against bottom club Ipswich before losing 1-0 at home to Charlton last Saturday. Dyche will be hoping for a return to winning ways but they face a tough task with Hull City their opponents in the KC Stadium this Saturday. Steve Bruce`s men are in good form and are currently 4th in the table seeking a seventh win in nine league games and a fourth in succession on home soil. Their return of 31 points from the first 17 games this season is their best start for eight years. Burnley will find it difficult to make it four successive wins on this ground but the last three seasons we have played Hull the Clarets have achieved the double over the Tigers so you never know! The Clarets desperately need to win if they are to keep up their promotion hopes. They are currently in 15th spot with 23 points from 17 games. That is five points behind deadly rivals Blackburn Rovers who are currently basking in sixth spot. Rovers are also of course the team we play next at home a week on Sunday so it would be nice to keep within touching distance of them ahead of the local derby.

Hull City Team News:

Steve Bruce could rest goalkeeper Ben Amos with the Tigers looking set to give a debut to Newcastle loan keeper David Stockdale who joined Hull only this week.

Defender Paul McShane looks doubtful with a calf strain, but Liam Rosenior (groin) and Alex Bruce (knee) could be fit in time. Defender Jack Hobbs and midfielder Tom Cairney were playing in the reserves in mid-week after recovering from injury but they look unlikely to feature.

Player to watch: Sone Aluko

The 23 year old Nigerian international striker joined Hull from troubled club, Rangers in July 2012 after agreeing a two year contract. Since that time he has been banging them in. The former Birmingham and Aberdeen forward has scored eight goals in 17 appearances for Hull so far this season and he is currently their leading goal-scorer. He has scored five goals from his last five games so Burnley will be hoping to a put a stop to that run.

Burnley Team News:

On loan Hull winger, Cameron Stewart is ineligible to play against his parent club and right back Kieran Trippier misses out with a one match suspension following a failed appeal this week to overturn his sending off for handball against Charlton last Saturday at Turf Moor.

Ross Wallace though is back in contention following his one match ban against Charlton and Ben Mee looks to have recovered from the foot injury that kept him sidelined for the last two games.

Player to watch: Dean Marney

Marney will be keen to impress against his former club and perhaps spur Burnley into starting new contract negotiations. Marney`s contract expires at the end of this season and there have been reports this month that both Wolves and Charlton could be keen on signing the midfielder. Marney joined Burnley from Hull in May 2010 and so far this season has been an ever-present. There have been rumblings though that he might be unsettled and looking to move back down south for personal family reasons.

Team & Tactics:

The big question could be who will play in the right back spot with Kieran Trippier sitting out a one match suspension. Dean Marney deputised against Charlton last Saturday following the red card incident but surely Dyche would not want to sacrifice his midfield expertise again with another recognised right back in the squad. This could be the opportunity that Luke O`Neill has been waiting for so I would not be surprised if he made the starting eleven at Hull although Dvaid Edgar also remains an option. I shall also make the assumption that both Wallace and Mee will go straight back into the team line-up for the start of this clash. I suspect too that Dyche will be more defence minded for this game and will play with a five man midfield (including at least one holding midfielder) with just one striker up front. My predicted eighteen therefore could look something like this

Grant, O`Neill, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Stock, Wallace, McCann, Marney, Paterson, Austin

Subs: Jensen, Lafferty or Mills, Edgar, Bartley, Stanislas, Ings, Vokes

Ref Watch:

Lincoln referee, Gary Sutton is in charge of this clash. He seems quite reserved in sending players off with only 9 players shown red last season from 37 games (about one every four games) and just one this season from 13 games. The yellow card count was 104 in 2011-12 and so far this season 39. His last game in charge of a match involving the Clarets was our 3-1 defeat away to Bristol City just over a year ago last season and three yellow cards were shown that day.

Match Prediction:

The KC Stadium has been kind to the Clarets over recent seasons and we have returned with maximum points on our last three visits. You almost sense how difficult it is going to be to repeat that again on Saturday bearing in mind Hull`s current form and the fact they are looking for their fourth successive win at home. The law of averages suggests we have to lose sometime in the KC but let`s hope not this season. I would be happy with a draw so let`s go with 2-2.

Next Match:

Well it`s the big one at home to Blackburn Rovers on Sunday 2nd December (Kick-Off 12:30 pm) but first there is the little matter of Barnsley who we play at Oakwell on the night of Tuesday 27th November (Kick-Off 7:45pm)