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Match Previews

Preview: Birmingham City v Burnley

15 April 2016

Burnley remain unbeaten since Boxing Day after their 1-0 victory over Leeds United last Saturday as they head to Birmingham City.

Scott Arfield’s early strike in the televised clash was enough for victory over the Whites, as the Clarets showed their resilience to keep another shutout and see the game out.

Hosts Birmingham lost 1-2 to Leeds United at St Andrew’s on Tuesday to all but end their Play-Off hopes with five games to go.

Clayton Donaldson brought the Blues back into the contest and was unfortunate to have an equaliser ruled out for offside to level.

In the reverse fixture at Turf Moor, Sean Dyche’s men came from behind twice in a 2-2 draw. First Michael Keane and then Matt Taylor cancelled out goals from Jon Toral and Paul Caddis.

(Last five games in all competitions)

Burnley: WDDDW

Birmingham City: DLLWL

Wales international David Cotterill has been key for the Blues throughout the 2015/16 campaign.

The Cardiff-born winger, who joined the club ahead of the 2014/15 campaign, has scored two goals and contributed six assists.

He is a threat from set-pieces and is in form having seen his free-kick pushed out by Silvestri for Donaldson to tap home against Leeds United.

That was after he also provided an inch-perfect for the Jamaican international forward to head home in the 2-0 away win at Reading.

He will be hoping to impress before the UEFA European Championships in the summer, where he is likely to link up with teammate Sam Vokes.

Burnley (Keane 51’, Taylor 81’) 2-2 Birmingham City (Toral 10’, Caddis 63’ pen)

Sean Dyche will assess the fitness of striker Sam Vokes ahead of the trip to St Andrew’s. The Welsh striker came off with a groin strain during the Clarets weekend victory over Leeds United at Turf Moor.

David Jones was also brought off after suffering with illness in the game against Leeds and he too will face a late check.

Gary Rowett has a clean bill of health, but may choose to rest former Claret Kyle Lafferty after his recent exposure to first-team football.

Referee Mark Heywood will be in charge of Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship clash against Birmingham City at St Andrew’s.

The West Yorkshire official has overseen 23 games so far this season, issuing 77 yellow cards and 5 red cards in the process.

The last time he officiated the Clarets was back in 2012 in a 2-0 defeat against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

Mr Heywood will be assisted by Mr Shaun Hudson, Mr David Avent and fourth official Lee Swabey.

Sean Dyche: “I think we are enjoying the task in front of us and the challenge of it.

“We have worked very hard to be where we are and we are thirsty for more.

“I don’t overthink everyone else. Our challenge is right in front of us and that’s what we focus on.

“Even at Christmas time people were wondering if we would be more of a play-off team than where we’ve got to, but I said then that we knew the journey we were on.

“We’ve shown great clarity to get results with some good performances and got to where we have. Now we have to take it further!”

Gary Rowett: “We've maximised a lot of areas this season, but we want more. My job now is to get as many wins as possible.

“Burnley will be tough, but our best performances are when we've countered and used the ball correctly.”

Promotion-chasing Burnley are 21/20 with Championship sponsors Sky Bet to take three points from their trip to Birmingham on Saturday afternoon. The hosts are 14/5 with the draw 9/4.

The last five meetings between this pair have produced a total of 18 goals, with over 2.5 goals a 6/5 shot at St Andrew’s. The five games have included two 2-2 draws and a 3-3.

Those scorelines are 16/1 and 80/1 respectively in the Correct Score betting, while it’s 7/2 the game ends 1-1, 2-2 or 3-3.

Burnley’s 23-goal striker Andre Gray is 7/2 to open the scoring and 11/8 to net anytime.

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