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Match Previews

Preview: Brighton v Burnley

1 April 2016

The Clarets have the chance to extend their lead at the top of the Sky Bet Championship when they travel to the Amex Stadium to face promotion rivals Brighton and Hove Albion (12.30pm Sky Sports).

After a 1-1 draw with Wolves last time out, Sean Dyche’s men sit four points clear of their opponents, and five clear of Middlesbrough who have a game in hand and play tonight against QPR.

When the sides met at Turf Moor earlier in the season, Bobby Zamora saw his early strike cancelled by Andre Gray’s penalty in a tight encounter in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

Brighton have lost just once in their last 12 games and moved into the top two with a 2-1 win over MK Dons before the international break.

(Last five games in all competitions)

Brighton: WDDWW
Burnley: WWWWD

Winger Anthony Knockaert built a strong reputation in the Sky Bet Championship when he helped Leicester City to promotion in 2013/14, alongside Lloyd Dyer.

He contributed five league goals and five assists in that season and was instrumental before opting to join Standard Liege on a free transfer.

The 24-year-old, who scored five league goals in 20 games for the Belgian club, can operate on either flank or off the front man and has the technical ability to cause problems for any defence in the division.

Burnley (Gray 4’) 1-1 Brighton (Zamora 1’)

Burnley: Heaton; Darikwa, Duff, Keane, Mee; Boyd, Jones, Barton, Arfield; Hennings (Long 61), Gray

Subs: Gilks, Ward, Kightly, Taylor, Lowton, Marney

Brighton: Stockdale; Saltor, Greer, Dunk, Rosenior; March, Stephens Kayal, Murphy; Hemed (Manu 82), Zamora

Subs: Maenpaa, Goldson, Holla, Forster-Caskey, Chicksen, Akindayini

Attendance: 15,622 (375 away)

Referee: Simon Hooper

Sean Dyche will make a late decision on the fitness of Rouwen Hennings as he has been struggling with an Achilles injury, which means there could be a place on the bench for Ashley Barnes.

Scott Arfield trained on Thursday after a back injury ruled him out of Canada’s fixture against Mexico at the Azteca Stadium and will be assessed.

Albion manager Chris Hughton says Bobby Zamora is a doubt for Saturday and will be assessed ahead of the game.

Uwe Huenemeier (groin) and Solly March (knee) are the other absentees for the Seagulls.

Referee Craig Pawson will officiate Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship trip to Brighton and Hove Albion at the AMEX Stadium.

The South Yorkshire official has been in charge of 32 games in the current campaign, issuing 103 yellow cards and 3 reds in the process.

Last season he officiated the Clarets’ 4-2 Emirates FA Cup defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. Three players were booked on that occasion; Scott Arfield and Michael Keane for Burnley and Vlad Chiriches for the hosts.

Mr Pawson will be assisted by Adam Nunn and Andrew Fox and Fourth Official Darren Deadman.

Sean Dyche: “We've put ourselves in a very strong position and there are other teams all wanting the piece of glory that comes with going into the Premier League of course.

"We're in good shape mentally and physically, the team is going well, they're organised and they know the delivery expected of them.

"Home and away we play on the front foot and we want to grip a game to take care of our own business, without thinking of others.

"All the games are huge now. Winning the games against the teams around you is very helpful but it comes down to it being another game and we have to keep our focus.

“A good run of form doesn’t owe you anything and we’ll be ready when the whistle blows."

Chris Hughton: “It is a big game because of where both teams are in this league. We have already played some big games this season and they come around thick and fast in this league.

“I am very sure that the next game against Birmingham is equally as big a game. We are at home and hopefully we can get three points.

“They have a very strong team and mentality. You have to be strong enough to beat that and they are top of the league for a reason.

“They have experienced this situation before and they are very well drilled by a great manager in Sean Dyche. They haven’t changed the squad too much and they have players that can score a lot of goals.”

Sky Bet Championship leaders Burnley are priced at 21/10 to record a victory over Brighton (7/5) this weekend in the televised clash, with the draw on offer at 21/10.

Tomer Hemed netted twice against MK Dons last time out, while Sam Vokes extended his great run of form with a goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Both players to score in 90 minutes when the two sides meet at the Amex Stadium is priced at 14/1.

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