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Burnley were enjoying a massive amelioration since the season’s inception back in August but suffered consecutive blows in recent weeks failing to secure a win in the past 9 outings, which is likely to extend this Saturday afternoon when the Clarets host high-flying Manchester City at Turf Moor.
The David versus Goliath clash will be an outing of defensive resilience against an animated attacking force, but the Lancashire outfit will be hoping to secure at least a point from the clash and eventually finish in the top-half of the Premier League table to sign off their season on a high note.
Injuries have halted Burnley’s consistency this season and the Clarets still have a number of significant injury absentees. Dean Marney, Robbie Brady and Steven Defour are long-term injuries whereas the likes of Chris Wood, Jonathan Walters, and Tom Heaton are still a few weeks away from returning to first-team football. James Tarkowski and Stephen Ward, however, are close to returning but might not be risked against the Cityzens this weekend.
Sean Dyche, who is used to known for playing two forwards up front, has altered his strategy a bit, mostly opting for a 4-4-1-1 set-up this season. He fielded the same against Newcastle on Wednesday night with Ashley Barnes up front and the gaffer is expected to retain the same against the Cityzens too.
The Englishman started the season as Tom Heaton’s deputy but the latter’s injury earned Pope first-team opportunities that he grabbed sensationally with several scintillating outings. He got a contract extension as a reward and will keep on continuing between the sticks for the Clarets.
Dyche has a couple of options for the right-back role but is preferring Bardsley over Matthew Lowton currently and the veteran defender is tipped to start the game against the Cityzens as well.
James Tarkowski’s latest injury scare has earned the Irishman first-team opportunities and the centre-back is expected to feature in the heart of the Burnley backline if Tarkowski fails to recover ahead of Saturday afternoon.
Mee has been Burnley’s most consistent performer over the years and the in-form Englishman will face his boyhood side when they lock horns this weekend.
The former Leeds United youngster is featuring regularly following Stephen Ward’s injury absence and is expected to retain his place if the latter fails to recover ahead of this game.
The Icelandic international has been impressive for the Clarets down the right flank with his fancy skills, cut-ins and crossing traits. Has scored and assisted a few goals so far this season and is expected to start in his usual role.
Cork is featuring regularly in the Burnley midfield and the injury absence of Steven Defour will hand him more responsibilities in the middle of the park. The Englishman will have a challenging job of containing a lively Manchester City midfield.
Defour’s injury has handed Westwood the opportunity to flourish in the middle of the park and the former Aston Villa star is likely to start their weekend’s encounter.
The Canadian international has been in manager’s good books for his high work ethics and swift movements in and around the box. Although he has been having a difficult time in recent weeks, Dyche is tipped to rely on Arfield once more and hand him a start down the left flank.
Barnes scored a sublime strike when these two sides met in the FA Cup 3rd round tie and his impressive form might see him in an attacking midfield role behind Vokes.
The Welshman was introduced from the bench against the Magpies but might start the game versus the Cityzens at Turf Moor due to his aerial supremacy inside the box. Burnley will preferably focus on crosses from the wings as well as long balls from midfield. Vokes will be a major influence if they manage to execute their game plan against the champions-elect.