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Sean Dyche’s Burnley will travel to the Stadium of Light this Saturday, as they prepare to take on bottom feeders Sunderland in Matchweek 29 of the Premier League.
The Clarets have a very poor away record this season, having failed to win a single game away from Turf Moor. They will come into the weekend’s fixture on the back of a 2-1 loss to Liverpool at Anfield. However, a better result might be on the cards against David Moyes’ side who have been struggling at the bottom of the table.
The two sides have met three times this season, once in the league where Burnley absolutely thrashed the Black Cats winning 4-1, before playing out a 0-0 draw in the FA Cup third round. In the replay, however, the Clarets once again emerged 2-0 winners. We could see a similar result for the 12th placed team in the standings.
Johan Berg-Gudmundsson and Steven Defour are expected to be close to full fitness but it is unlikely that they will play a part in the Saturday’s fixture. Joey Barton’s impending hearing over illegal betting charges that could see him receive a lengthy suspension could render him unavailable as well, while Dean Marney has been ruled out for the rest of the season.
The goalkeeper has been a star performer for the Clarets this season. He will be the man between the sticks on Saturday against the Black Cats.
The right-back has been a constant figure in the line-up but hasn’t been the most consistent of players. However, he should keep his place in the XI.
One of the best defenders in the league this season. Keane is an undisputed starter for Burnley week in week out.
Has been overshadowed by Keane, but Ben Mee has been quietly doing his job and has been extremely solid at the back. Should start on Saturday.
At left-back, completing the back-line, it will be Stephen Ward. Had a decent game against Liverpool last week and will look for a similar performance at the Stadium of Light as well.
On the right-hand side of the midfield, we will once again see George Boyd. The midfielder is an ever-present in the Burnley XI, and it is unlikely that he will sit out.
Coming in for Joey Barton will be Ashley Westwood. With Defour still doubtful and Barton facing a lengthy ban, we expect the January signing to slot in at the centre of the park.
Alongside Westwood, we might see Jeff Hendricks retain his position in the middle. The summer arrival returned from injury recently and will be looking to find some form.
We expect a change on the left-hand side of the midfield as Robbie Brady could return to the fold in place of Scott Arfield. The former Norwich City man was left out against Liverpool but should start on Saturday.
Up front, it will be captain Ashley Barnes. The striker scored a goal on his return last week against Liverpool and will be looking to add more to his tally against Sunderland.
Partnering Barnes in attack will be Andre Gray. The club’s top scorer will be up against the impressive Lamine Kone and it will be an interesting battle within the war.