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Match Previews

Preview: Burnley v Cardiff City

5 April 2016

Burnley head into the game against Play-Off chasing Cardiff City with a three point lead at the top of the Championship.

Michael Keane’s stoppage time header against Brighton and Hove Albion saw the Clarets earn a point after being denied moments earlier by a header that had crossed the line.

In the reverse fixture at the Cardiff City Stadium, a Keane header came off the unfortunate Matthew Connolly in stoppage to rescue a 2-2 draw in similar fashion.

Cardiff go into the game in good form under the stewardship of Russell Slade and victory against fellow Play-Off hopefuls Derby County at the weekend certainly boosted their chances.

They have lost just one of their previous six league games, winning four and drawing the other. The Bluebirds head to East Lancashire in search of a first win at Turf Moor since 1988.

(Last five games in all competitions)

Burnley: WWWDD

Cardiff City: WLWDW

Dutch forward Lex Immers arrived in South Wales in January from Feyenoord in a loan deal to bolster the Bluebirds attacking options.

He started his career at boyhood club Ado Den Haag before moving to Feyenoord in 2012, and he has netted 30 times in 100 apperances.

Immers, who can also operate in midfield, has adapted well to the English game and contributed 4 goals in 10 appearances, including a goal on his full debut against Huddersfield Town in a 3-2 win.

If Cardiff are to make the end of season Play-Offs, then the 6ft 2” forward could prove key and the blossoming partnership of Ben Mee and Michael Keane will be wary of his threat tonight.

Cardiff (Gunnarsson 41’, Morrison 61’) 2-2 Burnley (Hennings 85’, Keane 93’)

Cardiff: Marshall, Peltier, Morrison, Whittingham, Ralls, Jones (Macheda 89), Noone, Connolly, Gunnarsson (O’Keefe 67), Malone, Watt (Mason 61).

Subs: Ecuele Manga, Tamas, Moore, Kennedy.

Burnley: Heaton, Darikwa, Keane, Duff, Mee, Arfield (Hennings 76), Barton, Jones (Marney 67), Boyd, Gray, Long (Taylor 56).

Subs: Gilks, Lowton, Kightly, Ward

Referee: D Drysdale

Attendance: 15.133

Sean Dyche could go with an unchanged side for the visit of Cardiff City tonight as he has no fresh injury concerns.

Ashley Barnes returned to the bench at the weekend and replaced Andre Gray on 81 minutes.

And Joey Barton is in line to make his 400th career appearance tonight against the Bluebirds.

Cardiff are waiting on the fitness of Matthew Connolly after he missed the Derby County fixture with an illness.

That aside, Ben Turner (knee) is the only absentee for Russell Slade’s men.

Referee Geoff Eltringham will officiate tonight’s Sky Bet Championship clash against Cardiff City at Turf Moor (7.45pm).

The official from County Durham has been in charge of 34 games in the current campaign, issuing 90 yellow cards and 8 reds in the process.

Earlier this season, he was the man in the middle in the Clarets’ 1-0 defeat to Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium and three players were booked on that occasion.

Mr Eltringham will be assisted by Christopher Akers, Alf Greenwood and fourth official Ross Joyce.

Sean Dyche: “Physically we’re looking superb. We’re showing really high stats similar to where the players were at the beginning of the season, and that’s a powerful feeling to have going forward.

“There’s still a freshness and an ability to play super strong football technically and physically for 90 minutes plus, and that’s a strong marker as well.

“We know Cardiff are coming here, they mean business, we mean business and we look forward to everything that comes our way.

“They’re hanging around the play off zone, so they’ve got their own challenges this season. But we can only concern ourselves with ourselves and we will know we are ready to play when the whistle blows.”

Russell Slade: “'We’re still outside and the challenge for us is to get into that top six.

“Despite the win, we`re still a couple of points adrift and we`re running out of games.

“Burnley is the toughest place to go in the Championship right now, they`re very strong and looking like favourites to go up.”

Leaders Burnley are 5/6 favourites with Sky Bet to beat Cardiff City on Tuesday night at Turf Moor, with the visitors 18/5 and the draw on offer at 12/5. The two sides drew 2-2 in south Wales back in November and a repeat of that scoreline can be backed at 18/1.

The Clarets are unbeaten in their last nine home league matches and are 7/4 in the half-time/full-time market and 13/8 to win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 in the correct score group betting section. Top scorer Andre Gray is 7/2 to net the first goal and 11/8 to score at any time.

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