Burnley in second spot take on the league leaders, Leicester City at Turf Moor this Saturday knowing that a win by two clear goals or more would see the Clarets go back on top on goal difference.
It`s one big game at Turf Moor this Saturday with second-placed Burnley lining up against Championship leaders, Leicester City. The Clarets are only three points behind the Foxes with just a two goal inferior goal difference. Leicester do have a game advantage but the scene is set for one helluva tussle and those unable to attend the game will able to watch the match live on Sky Sports . Fans are reminded that because of the live coverage, the match will kick-off early at 12:15pm. Something will certainly have to give in this one when you look at both teams current form. Burnley have yet to lose at home this season but Leicester have the best away form in the league. The Foxes record stands at 11 wins from 18 games. Leicester have also scored 70 league goals so far this season more than any other side in the Championship but they now face a Burnley side with the joint meanest defence in the league . The Clarets have conceded only 31 league goals so far this season on a par with Brighton. Finally, the Clarets can boast an unbeaten run of sixteen games only bettered by Leicester who have gone 18 games without defeat! Nigel Pearson`s men though have suffered a slight dip in form of late. They could only muster a draw away to Blackburn and then in their last game at home to lowly Yeovil only managed a point after a last minute equaliser in stoppage time denied the Glovers a sensational 1-0 win. The Clarets though face this game without three of their key players so the relative pros and cons in terms of form and chances seem to be cancelling each other out. Bring it on though! No wonder most neutrals are predicting a draw. A point too could be enough with QPR in third spot already ten points adrift of the Clarets and Derby in 4th now 13 points behind. They of course will play their games later on Saturday at the normal Kick-Off time of 3pm. Both though on paper have relatively easy home games with struggling Charlton the visitors to Pride Park and less-than-impressive Blackpool away to QPR. It is probably vital that Burnley pick up at least one point to steady the nerves with just seven games remaining after Saturday but a 2-0 home win would send Clarets fans ballistic and allow them to sing ‘We are top of league, say we are top of the league` for the first time since we beat Blackpool back in December. Come on You Clarets!!
Burnley Team News:
This game comes too soon for Danny Ings (ankle) and Kieran Trippier (hamstring) and these two key players will be joined by a third absentee. Dean Marney unfortunately picked up his tenth yellow card in the midweek win at home to Doncaster and will now automatically miss two games.
Player to watch: Scott Arfield
Arfield will have a big role to play this Saturday especially if he replaces Dean Marney in centre midfield. The former Huddersfield midfielder is understood to prefer a more central role but has actually been sensational for the Clarets out wide this season. Either way, his confidence and creativity could be crucial to Burnley`s chances of success.
Leicester City Team News:
Leicester have no new injury problems or suspensions to worry about. Dean Hammond, Andy King, Lloyd Dyer, Kevin Phillips and Chris Wood will be looking for a start after bench-warming in recent times.
Player to watch: Jamie Vardy
Everybody knows about our former striker, David Nugent and the fact he always seems to score against us so let`s mention someone else for a change. Nugent might be the leading goal scorer for the Foxes with 19 goals so far this season but he is closely followed by Jamie Vardy on 16. Not bad for a former, non-league striker who joined from Fleetwood Town in May 2012 for a reported fee of £1 million, a non-League record. The 27 year old has since notched up 20 goals in 60 appearances for the Foxes and will certainly need to be kept in check along with Nugent this Saturday.
Team & Tactics:
The big question is who will fill Dean Marney`s boots with the influential midfielder facing a two match ban. There appear to be two main options assuming Chris Baird continues at right back in place of the injured Trippier. David Edgar could make a return although he has not seen much game time recently and perhaps the better option would be to allow Scott Arfield to play a more central midfield role and select one of the other spare winger`s on the flank. Michael Kightly could be the preferred choice over Wallace or Treacy. I will stick my neck out and go for the following eighteen:
Heaton, Baird, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Stanislas, Jones, Arfield, Kightly, Vokes, Barnes
Subs: Cisak, Lafferty, Long, Edgar, Treacy, Wallace, Hewitt
Chester referee, Mike Jones gets this one, his third game involving the Clarets this season. He also has Premier League credentials befitting for such a game. Jones has been in charge of 26 games so far this season sending off just three players and flashing yellow at another 89. His last game in charge of a match involving Burnley was away to Wigan back in December. The match finished goalless and two players saw yellow that day. The other Clarets match he was involved with this season was our 2-1 home win over Reading where once again just two players received a caution.
My biggest concern here is the loss of three key players against obviously a top class side. I would certainly have been more confident of a win with Trippier, Ings and Marney in the starting eleven. We could still pick up those vital three points but something tells me a draw will be the most likely outcome and I would certainly take that 1-1!!
The Clarets are on the road a week Saturday. They play Sean Dyche`s former club Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday 5th April (Kick-Off: 3pm)