Burnley head to Sky Bet Championship leaders Middlesbrough in the Emirates FA Cup third round looking to avoid a fifth successive exit at this stage.
Last time out, the Clarets drew 0-0 with Play-Off chasing Ipswich Town after Ben Mee’s header was controversially ruled out for a foul in the box.
Three clean sheets on the spin and eight goals in their last three home games gives them a platform on which to build and an FA Cup victory against their promotion rivals would add momentum on all fronts.
Middlesbrough have been in fine form of late and did not concede a league goal in the month of December. Aitor Karanka and Adam Clayton were rewarded with the Manager of the Month and Player of the Month awards.
They are unbeaten in the league since November, 7 when Hull City beat them 3-0 at the KC Stadium, winning 7 of their last 8 league games and drawing the other against Birmingham.
Despite flying high in the league, Aitor Karanka’s men will hoping to emulate last season’s magnificent FA Cup run that saw them defeat Manchester City before exiting at the Fifth Round stage to Arsenal.
Having being named as the Sky Bet Championship player of the month for December, Clayton will be hoping to build on excellent recent performances against Brighton & Hove Albion and Ipswich Town.
He helped screen in front of a defence that did not concede all month and impressive distribution also helped the team going forward.
His solitary goal so far from midfield came in November against his former employers Huddersfield Town.
Middlesbrough (Nsue) 1-0 Burnley
Burnley: Heaton, Mee, Duff, Keane, Darikwa (Hennings 86), Boyd (Kightly 76), Marney, Barton, Jones (Vokes 71), Arfield, Gray.
Subs: Mitchell, Lowton, Taylor, Ward.
Booked: Jones 5, Mee 50
Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Kike (Stuani 76), Fabbrini (Leadbitter 65), Friend, Downing, Kalas, Ayala, Forshaw, Gibson, Nsue, Clayton.
Subs: Mejias, De Pena, Amorebieta, Zuculini
Booked: Ayala 61
Referee: G Eltringham
Attendance: 19,966 (646)
Michael Duff is a doubt for Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup at Middlesbrough with a thigh injury. Duff trained on Thursday and a late check will be made on his availability.
Dean Marney is also unlikely to be involved again due to a niggling calf injury that kept him out of the 0-0 draw against Ipswich Town.
In the opposition camp, Aitor Karanka insists he will field the strongest team possible to win the game against Burnley in the Emirates FA Cup tie on Saturday afternoon.
Simon Hooper will officiate Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup Third Round tie against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.
The Wiltshire official has taken charge of 26 games so far in the 2015/16 campaign, issuing 60 yellow cards and two cards in the process.
It will be the third Clarets’ game he has overseen this season, with the last coming in the 1-1 home draw against Brighton & Hove Albion.
Four players were booked on that occasion; three for the visitors and Ben Mee for the Clarets.
Mr Hooper will be assisted by Mr Scott Ledger, Mr Tom Nield and fourth official Mark Dwyer.
Sean Dyche: "I think the cup has changed slightly over the years and it's not doing it down.
"The fact is we're in a division that can go on to arguably the most powerful league in the world on and off the pitch.
"That's the immediate concern but when the FA Cup comes around it doesn't mean you don't take it seriously.
"I'm always amazed when people make out clubs don't take it seriously. Managers, players, clubs all want to win every game they can.
"It's just that in balance when you view the Championship, it is what it is and there is a high demand for the grandeur of the Premier League.
"I've had great times in the FA Cup myself and Burnley have great history in it so we accept the challenge of trying to do well in a fantastically recognised competiton.”
Aitor Karanka: "It's a tough game. I was speaking to Sean after our league game and both of us weren't really happy with the draw.
"It's always tough to play against a team like Burnley. They are fighting with us at the top of the table and played in the Premier League last season.
"They are very organised and have a really good manager so it will be difficult."
Supporters are reminded they will be able to pay on the day at the Riverside Stadium for the Emirates FA Cup tie against Middlesbrough but there will be no discount for season ticket holders.
Prices are as follows:
Over 65’s £10
Under 18’s £5