Football – England – Championship
Saturday 29th December 2012 – Kickoff: 1500hrs
Mid-table Burnley take on play-off contenders Leicester City at Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon as the hosts could well overturn the visitors in what should be an intriguing contest today.
Despite sitting mid-table, Burnley have been pretty solid in recent weeks having lost just once in their last seven Championship matches following some inconsistent and indifferent performances and manager Sean Dyche has instilled some fight and resolve into his squad and recent results suggest that his squad are now beginning to gel.
Wins over Hull City (1-0 away) and a 2-0 home win over Derby County on Boxing Day along with points taken off Blackburn Rovers, Watford and Birmingham City prove that The Clarets are no push-overs for this fixture and indeed their home form gives them every chance of getting at least a point against Leicester City – a record of 6-4-2 21/13 is not bad at all with wins over Bolton, Peterborough United, Blackpool, Wolves, Leeds and Derby County and defeats only to Brighton and Charlton Athletic.
Burnley also have a number of attacking options open to them with gunslinger Charlie Austin (18 goals) spearheading the attack, the Clarets have Chris McCann (3 goals, 4 assists), Martin Paterson (4 goals) and the supply line being fed by Kieran Trippier (6 assists) and Ross Wallace (4 assists).
Leicester City’s automatic promotion hopes appear to have evaporated just at the mid-way point of the season with Nigel Pearson’s men some 12 points adrift of Championship leaders Cardiff City, and he’ll be mindful of the fact that Leicester City have won just one league game in their last six.
The Foxes will need improvements and quick with the likes of Watford, Millwall and Nottingham Forest all snapping at their heels and knocking on the door of a play-off place. Leicester’s only recent success was a 4-1 east midlands derby win over Derby County but aside from that they’ve suffered defeats against Leeds United, Millwall and Cardiff City and whilst they took a point off fast-improving Hull City, they could only muster a point against lowly Barnsley.
Leicester’s away record stands at a slightly disappointing 3-3-6 11/12 and it’s just one win in their last seven on the road which was at fourth from bottom club Sheffield Wednesday. Experienced striker David Nugent (11 goals, 3 assists) is Leicester’s leading goalscorer but the service just hasn’t been apparent in recent weeks as The Foxes have failed to score in their last three matches.
Burnley are starting something of a revival and they remain hard to beat at Turf Moor so I’ll back them with the handicap here as I believe they’ve enough to deal with Leicester City to get a point and they might even just nick it perhaps 2-1.
Pick: Burnley AH+0.5 @ 1.70 Pinnacle – get on!