With relegation to the Championship now beginning to look likely, Burnley must win away to West Ham United if they are to have any hope of launching an escape.
Their cause may be helped by the fact that the Hammers are in dreadful form themselves, winning just twice in the Premier League in 2015, a run which has coincided with injuries and a loss of form for several players. Such has been their decline, it now looks likely that they will not even manage a top half finish.
One player whose form has not slipped this season is goalkeeper Adrian, who was outstanding again as Sam Allardyce’s side gained a point at Queens Park Rangers. There is a lot more at stake for the visitors here, so the former Real Betis man could be busy again.
Just as they were unable to in the reverse fixture against Saturday’s opponents, Burnley could not deal with a cross into their box last time out against relegation rivals Leicester City as they lost what was a critical game in their fight for survival. The gap to safety is now five points; a chasm with just four matches left.
That goal from Leicester came just seconds after the Clarets missed a penalty at the other end, and it is on such moments that a team’s fate can be decided. Matt Taylor’s failure to convert from 12 yards typified their recent struggles in front of goal, but at least Ashley Barnes will be back for this one.
West Ham are still without Diafra Sakho, James Tomkins and Andy Carroll, but hope to have Winston Reid back from a hamstring problem.
Along with Barnes, fellow striker Sam Vokes may also be back in the reckoning for Burnley, who are unable to call upon Kevin Long and Dean Marney.
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