Burnley are without top scorer Jay Rodriguez and Martin Patterson so Charlie Austin should start. He scored a hat trick at the weekend.
Blues will have an unchanged squad as Keith Fahey and Jonathan Spector are not fit to return.
Blues won 2-1 in November with goals at either end of the game. Jean Beausejour opened the scoring in the 2nd minute and Chris Burke got the winner in the 91st.
Blues have an even two wins, two draws and two defeats in their last six games and remained in 4th place despite having played one less game than the other sides.
Burnley are 16th and Saturday’s 5-1 victory over Portsmouth was their first win since mid-February.
Despite being against the bottom club Friday’s win may prove to be very important as it puts Blues in a very good position to secure a playoff spot. I said before that we had to win two out of our five remaining away games so to win the first one reduces the pressure for the remainder. Fourth place is probably the best we can hope for so we only have to match the results of those immediately below us to retain that place. Winning our game in hand will give us that extra breathing space but I’ll be happy with four points from this one and Palace at home on Saturday.
We won’t find out until the game starts whether Saturday’s demolition of Portsmouth was a one off in a run of poor form or a case of them hitting their stride. It would be typical for them to have a late season burst just when they are about to play us. Usually I’d say that they are the type of team you like to play in the final month of the season as they aren’t relegation threatened and have little hope of a playoff spot. Burnley fans will probably have to be content with the knowledge that their one season in the Premier League will just have to be a pleasant memory. Especially as they have lost two of their top strikers.
Blues have named an unchanged squad so may end up naming an unchanged starting eleven. There are no available options at the back or in central midfield so the only possible changes are Redmond and Huseklepp for Townsend and Zigic. Elliot is also an option if Chris Hughton wants to play a five man midfield like he did against Cardiff. Burnley are an attacking side so a good proportion of chances may well come on the break which also happened in the Cardiff game. Defending well will be important but with David Murphy back I feel more comfortable in that area. As long as we keep Charlie Austin quiet they don’t really have too many other dangerous players.
Being a game in hand we have very little to lose as only a very heavy defeat will see us drop down the table so we might as well have a go. Anything gained in this game will give us vital breathing space from the chasing pack and will reduce the number of teams that we need to watch out for. I already think that the likes of Leeds, Leicester and Derby are unlikely to challenge now. I reckon we will get something from this one but maybe only a point. I still can’t bring myself to be too optimistic about Blues away from home.
Burnley 1 Blues 1
C’mon you Blue Boys