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Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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31 January 2018 Venue St. James' Park Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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Dyche Blanks Out The Noise

Clarets focus on job in hand as they look to end winless streak at Newcastle

31 January 2018

Sean Dyche expects the Clarets to shut out any distractions as they try to extend Newcastle United’s winless run at St James’ Park and get their own campaign back in top gear.

Newcastle have failed to earn a home victory in seven games – their worst run in the Premier League since 2009 when they headed for relegation.

Many of the home supporters are also unhappy with the ownership of Mike Ashley and concerned over a lack of transfer business manager Rafa Benitez has been able to do this January to boost his side’s survival hopes.

That could make for an uncomfortable atmosphere tonight should things not be working out for the Tynesiders, who are in danger of slipping into the bottom three.

But Dyche says the Clarets’ only concern will be matters on the pitch as Burnley look to end their own wait for a win and secure a first top-flight double over the Geordies since 1960/61 to cement their place in the top eight.

The Burnley boss said: “They got some good points on the board early on. They’ve had a bit of a challenge over the last run of games which, as I have suggested, can happen to anyone outside the top six.

“There’s a lot of noise been made from outside the club, and sometimes from inside, about signings or should they have signed more, or should they sign different players etc?

“But that’s all talk. For us, it’s to concentrate and focus on the game.

“They’re still a good side, they still work very hard, they’ve got some experience and an energy to their performances.

“Lately they’ve found it tougher to come by results, as have we. There are a lot of deciding factors in football.

“But all the noise outside the pitch, we let others talk about that.

“I can assure you, with the players, we’re focusing on when the whistle blows, the players being ready to go and play.”

While Newcastle have found positive results hard to come by, the Clarets are also without a win in seven league games.

But Dyche has seen his side pick up three draws away from home during that run and hopes positive performances will soon be reflected in more points.

He added: “We don’t take anything for granted. We continue not to take anything for granted because that gives clarity, knowing we’ve got to go and perform.

“Whether it’s against these fine managers or teams, as soon as that whistle blows we’ve got to show we’re ready to perform and we have made a good show of that over a season so far.

“We want that to continue and, of course, add in those little details that can turn it the right way and win matches for us.”

Burnley have a number of injury concerns to overcome, with defender James Tarkowski and ever-present midfielder Steven Defour possible additions to the absentee list, but new signing Aaron Lennon is in the traveling squad for the first time.

Newcastle rested a number of players for their 3-0 FA Cup fourth-round defeat to Chelsea last Sunday and, as well bringing them back into the fold, will also be able to give a debut to on-loan Chelsea left-back or winger Kenedy.

But Benitez – who saw his side lose 1-0 to a Jeff Hendrick goal at Turf Moor in October – is still expecting another testing evening against the Clarets as he looks to lift the mood on Tyneside.

The former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss said: “They are a good team, well organised, they know what they have to do to get points, so I think it will be tough.

“But to be fair any game in the Premier League is tough. We know we have to do well if we want to get three points, and we have confidence that we can do it.”

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Match Reports

Newcastle Utd 1 Burnley 1

Nick Pope penalty save and late Sam Vokes header earns Clarets vital point

31 January 2018

Sam Vokes came off the bench to claim a crucial late equaliser for the Clarets and get Sean Dyche’s men moving back in the right direction.

Burnley were in danger of a fourth successive league defeat to continue a tough start to 2018 when Jamaal Lascelles headed Newcastle into the lead 20 minutes into the second half.

That could have been enough to end United’s own poor run and give Rafa Benitez’s a first home win since early October and some breathing space above the relegation zone.

But the Clarets - helped by an impressive debut from the bench from new signing Aaron Lennon - refused to accept defeat and with five minutes to go, Vokes headed home via a helping hand from goalkeeper Karl Darlow to cap a character-full fightback and deservedly stop the rot.

A first win in nine matches still proved elusive but a first goal in three games – coupled with Nick Pope’s first-half penalty save from Joselu – will have done wonders for confidence as Burnley got things back on track before Saturday’s visit of Premier League leaders Manchester City.

The Clarets, now beaten just once in five away league games, delivered the news before kick-off that Steven Defour would miss at least two months with a knee injury that requires surgery, bringing an end to the midfielder’s ever-present Premier League record.

Ashley Westwood therefore came in for his first league start of the season, with a second change forced on Dyche by the injury enforced absence of James Tarkowski.

Kevin Long’s return to defensive starting duty alongside Ben Mee meant a second St James’ Park appearance for the Irishman, whose first on New Year’s Day, 2015 had been cruelly ended by a long-term knee injury.

If Long had any lingering negative thoughts they didn’t show as he made a solid start, capped by a vital interception at the near post to stop a low cross from Kenedy reaching Joselu.

Kenedy made his Newcastle debut following a loan move from Chelsea and the Brazilian was a pivotal figure in a highly competitive first half.

His curling shot after 17 minutes thudded against a post via a deflection off Long and the finger-tips of Pope as Newcastle were only inches away from going in front, Pope getting down quickly to smother the rebound from Christian Atsu.

And it was the impressive Kenedy who was fouled by Phil Bardsley to concede the 33rd-minute penalty which gave the home side the clearest chance yet to grab the initiative.

It was the first spot-kick the Geordies had been given this season and Joselu wasted the chance as his effort was well saved by Pope, diving low to his left.

The Clarets have not been awarded a penalty either, and once again they had an appeal turned down mid-way through the opening half as they enjoyed some respite from Newcastle's pressure with a flurry of activity in the United box.

After Long had missed a chance to convert a Johan Berg Gudmundsson free-kick, full-back Paul Dummett lost his footing and then appeared to impede Jack Cork as the pair went to ground.

But referee Simon Hooper waved play on, something he didn’t do moments later when Lascelles was out-muscled by Ashley Barnes, who was penalised for the slightest of touches on the defender before drilling the ball into the back of the net – denying the Clarets a half-time lead.

The increasingly influential Barnes had also sent a long-range effort wide moments before the break, but that was nothing like the chance the striker had to break the deadlock five minutes after the re-start.

Birthday boy Jeff Hendrick created the opening with a cute header but after making space for a shot, Barnes couldn’t keep his left-footed shot down as Newcastle – without a win in seven home league games – survived a further setback.

With the Clarets sensing the momentum may be going their way, Dyche wasted no time in sending on Lennon with an hour gone to add a further attacking threat and the former Everton man immediately made his presence felt with a thrusting run.

But six minutes after the change it was Newcastle who went ahead when Lascelles met Kenedy’s in-swinging corner with a powerful header which flew past Pope from eight yards.

Joselu then dragged a shot wide with the chance to seal the points for United, leaving the Clarets almost 20 minutes to try and find an equaliser with Vokes on to partner Barnes in a switch to 4-4-2.

With an extra target to aim for Lennon looked capable of unlocking Newcastle’s defence and it was the former England international who nearly levelled things himself when he sneaked in at the far post for an effort blocked by Darlow at the expense of a corner.

Newcastle held out from the first but when Cork got the chance to deliver again, Long won a header which Vokes glanced over the line via Darlow’s hands and the underside of the bar to claim a perfectly-timed fourth goal of the season.

If anyone was going to win it in the dying moments it looked likely to be the Clarets as they continued to camp around the United penalty area with GK Nkoudou further stretching the hosts' defence in a lively late cameo.

But even though there was to be no dramatic final twist, a fourth draw in Burnley's last five away games ended a testing month on a high with a return to seventh place in the table.

Burnley: Pope, Bardsley, Long, Mee, Taylor, Gudmundsson (Nkoudou 83), Westwood (Vokes 70), Cork, Arfield (Lennon 60), Hendrick, Barnes. Substitutes: Lindegaard, Lowton, Ulvestad, Wells.

Booked: Barnes, Vokes

Newcastle Utd: Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Atsu (Murphy 64), Diame, Merino, Kenedy (Ritchie 72), Perez (Gayle 85), Joselu. Substitutes: Woodman, Shelvey, Hayden, Manquillo.

Booked: Yedlin

Referee: Simon Hooper

Attendance: 50,174

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