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Stuart Dalgleish 27th Mar 2010 - 18:05

Now or never for Burnley

Burnley meet their East Lancashire rivals Blackburn early on Sunday lunchtime for the most crucial of derby games.

The Clarets know that if they don't get three points from this game, with their tough run of fixtures coming up, it could be game over in their fight for Premier League survival.

It all started so brightly for Burnley in August when the beat Manchester United at Turf Moor in their second game of the season and followed that up with an equally as impressive victory over Everton, the long standing problem for Burnley though has been their away form.

Owen Coyle and now Brian Laws between them have only managed one draw away from Turf Moor, at fellow Lancashire outfit Man City; they've suffered 15 defeats letting in 47 goals in the process. They'll be thankful that this match is at home as Blackburn are just as bad as the hosts on their travels, winning only one out of 15 away from Ewood Park.

However Rovers have been on improved form of late, losing only three times in their last 10 games, but of course those defeats have all been away from home.

It makes this game a tough one to call, Rovers (17/10) might think now that they are safe and ease off for the rest of the season while the pressure on Burnley (13/8) might make them more scared to lose rather than try actually win the game, a draw at odds of 11/5 might not be the worst bet in the world.

If anything though I would lean towards Burnley in the Draw No Bet at 8/11 just to cover your options slightly, by no means do I think that Burnley are a decent side it's just that their home form simply has to stay strong if they're to have any chance of staying up, and they've scored in every Turf Moor game so far this season so I see no reason why a leaky Blackburn defence can stop that run continuing.

Their chief goal threat is Steven Fletcher (6/1 first goal) who's weighed in with 11 in all competitions, the big Scot got through 60 odd minutes in last week's defeat to Wigan after three games out injured and will be itching to get back amongst the goals to aid his team's survival hopes.

David Nugent (6/1 for the opener) has looked in decent form of late for Burnley too, having bagged three goals in his last seven games and the Clarets desperately need the pair to be fully fit and firing for the rest of the campaign if they are to play a second season of Premier League football.

It looks like Blackburn will almost certainly be playing in the top flight again next season as they have a comfortable gap between themselves and the drop zone; you have to think that a big shake up will take place in the summer though as Rovers have had some serious defensive frailties, letting in an average of 2.5 goals in their last 20 away games. (Over 2.5 goals in the game is 10/11)

Scoring goals has been a bit of a problem too, their top scorer David Dunn (6/1 first goal) only has eight strikes to his name, and he's a midfielder, Nikola Kalinic (11/2) is 2nd in the Rovers goal charts with seven but he's only managed to notch twice in the league, surely Sam Allardyce needs to invest in a striker for next season.

Bad news for Big Sam in this game though, is that Dunn could miss out after the former England international picked up a knock after scoring both goals in Blackburn's midweek win over Birmingham.

Laws has no new injury worries as he looks to gain Burnley's first win over their rivals in five attempts, Rovers have also stopped the Clarets from scoring the last three times they've travelled to Turf Moor.

 

 
 
 

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