Date: 20th April 2012 at 6:41pm
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Can the Clarets put a spoke in Blackpool`s play-offs wheel on Saturday at Bloomfield Road? It would be nice to help keep them down for next season!

The Pre-amble:

The Clarets could have a significant say in whether Blackpool feature in the play-offs this season or not. They play them on Saturday at Bloomfield Road in their last away game of the season looking for their fourth consecutive Championship victory over them. If we do win, it will be another double for the season after beating them 3-1 at Turf Moor back in October and it would also mean we would have equalled our record of eleven away wins in a season.

Fifth-placed Blackpool are unbeaten in five games with just one defeat in eight and need a win to guarantee a place in the play-offs for the second time in three seasons. Ian Holloway`s men will certainly have more to play for but also more to lose compared to the Clarets who under no pressure could be more relaxed. Burnley`s season of course is already effectively over and it is not mathematically possible now to reach the play-offs no matter what the results of the last two games of the season. Their only aim now is to finish as high as possible. Currently 12th on 61 points , it would be nice to finish in the top ten with now just Blackpool away on Saturday and Bristol City at home in our last game of the season standing in our way.

It is always nice of course to win a local derby and keeping Blackpool in the Championship would also be a money-spinner for next season. 2012-13 could be a very good season for local games especially if both Bolton and Blackburn get relegated from the Premier League this season. Over in Yorkshire, both Leeds United and Barnsley are already doomed to another Championship season and we could also see one or both of the Sheffield clubs come up from League 1 with Huddersfield also in the mix for promotion. Just a pity we are now looking at another season in the Championship ourselves!

Blackpool Team News:

Midfielder, Keith Southern completes a three-match suspension and will miss out. Southern was dismissed early in the first half in Blackpool`s home game against Barnsley earlier this month following a careless two-footed lunge on former Clarets defender, Stephen Foster.

Veteran 38 year old striker, Kevin Phillips though is set for a return following a month out of action with a hip injury. Veteran, he might be but he is still Blackpool`s top scorer with 17 goals so far this season! He is now back in training and could make a start.

Striker Kevin Dobbie is also expected to return. The forward having returned to Blackpool on loan from Swansea missed the Seasiders 1-0 home win against Leeds in midweek after suffering from a stiff back.

Player to watch: Gary Taylor-Fletcher

30 year old influential midfielder, Gary Taylor-Fletcher can also play up front and this season has often been the target man for Blackpool. He has indeed scored seven goals himself this season. The former Huddersfield player signed for Blackpool for an undisclosed fee after penning a two-year deal in July 2007. Taylor-Fletcher has played and scored in every division from the Conference to the Premier League having also been on the books at Northwich Victoria, Leyton Orient and Lincoln City during his career to date. He has also had loan spells at Hull City, Grays Athletic and Dagenham & Redbridge.

Burnley Team News:

Burnley have no new injury worries ahead of their game against the Tangerines.

Strikers Jay Rodriguez and Martin Paterson remain on the sidelines with respective groin/hip and hamstring problems and Ben Mee is out for the rest of the season with a small back fracture.

Chris McCann who picked up a knock against Leicester City in midweek and had to be substituted appears to be back in contention.

This could be Josh McQuoid`s last game for the Clarets if he plays. His loan spell comes to an end after this match and he will then return to his parent club, Millwall.

Player to watch: Daniel Lafferty

We haven`t had much chance to see how well Lafferty can play at left back with the Irish man having spent some time out with a hamstring injury. He is back in the first team now though so Clarets fans will be hoping for a good, solid performance to give hope for next season. With Brian Easton going, our options at left back could be limited. Ben Mee is more a centre back and of course Ross Wallace has been playing out of position in that role recently. Daniel Lafferty remains our biggest hope to fill the shoes of Danny Fox who has generally been missed this season after signing for Southampton in the summer.

Team & Tactics:

With no fresh injury concerns, Eddie Howe could be tempted to name an unchanged starting eleven against Blackpool after a well-fought and well-earned point away to Leicester in midweek. Chris McCann may well play a more forward midfield role again. The only change could be on the bench with Eddie Howe may be tempted to swop around some of his young guns and give them valuable experience for next season.

Expect then a line-up something like this:

Grant, Trippier, Duff, Edgar, Lafferty, Wallace, Marney, Bartley, Stanislas, McCann, Austin

Substitutes: Jensen, McQuoid, Ings, Howieson, Jackson (or other young guns)

Ref Watch:

Staffordshire referee, Chris Sarginson is in charge of this local clash on Saturday. Sarginson has been quite modest with his card showing this season. In 32 games so far, he has only sent 5 players off and shown yellow 78 times! His last game in charge of a match involving the Clarets was our 1-0 at home to Hull this season back in December last year. This is the third time this season he will have been our referee, he was also in charge of the earlier Carling Cup game against Barnet back in August when we beat the League 2 side 3-2 at home.

Match Prediction:

Can we help frustrate Blackpool and thwart their play-offs dreams? We can have a damn good try and if we do win we will equal our record of eleven away wins in a season. Just got a feeling we are going to go out with a bang so 1-3 to the Clarets!

Next Match:

This is it chaps the final game of a long, hard and in many ways frustrating season. It will be played at Turf Moor on Saturday 28th April. The visitors will be struggling Bristol City who are currently fourth from bottom but now five points clear of the drop zone. The Robins may need to pick up points at Turf Moor to stay up. Don`t forget this game kicks off early at 12:30pm