Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl talks to Sky. “It is very tight in the middle of the table and with a few wins you can achieve a lot. This is our goal for the last games. There are four teams around us, and this is a very important game.”
Burnley caretaker Mike Jackson speaks to Sky. “We spoke about this being an opportunity. You can’t see them as burdens. They’re a challenge. These guys face challenges all the time, they’ve done it all their careers, it’s just the next one. It was really good [at West Ham]. Before the game, the atmosphere and togetherness, plus the good signs we saw in the game, was really positive. Questions have been asked of that group, but you don’t lose character. They’ve got that in spades, and we’ll look for that tonight, the same again.”
There’s been plenty of Dyche-related chat this week, for obvious reasons. So while the subject of Burnley managers is a hot topic [MBM writer inserts large jemmy into page, working away furiously with brazen intent] why not enjoy this old Joy of Six, which features John Haworth and Harry Potts, the only two men to bring the league title to Turf Moor? There’s still half an hour until kick-off, is all.
Burnley make two changes to the starting XI named for the 1-1 draw with West Ham United last Sunday. Connor Roberts and Josh Brownhill take the places of Matt Lowton, who drops to the bench, and the stricken Ashley Westwood.
Southampton beat Arsenal 1-0 on Saturday and so name an unchanged side. While Burnley have their relegation worries, Saints can leap from 13th to ninth, past Brentford, Newcastle United, Brighton & Hove Albion and Leicester City, with a victory tonight.
Burnley: Pope, Roberts, Collins, Tarkowski, Taylor, McNeil, Brownhill, Cork, Cornet, Rodriguez, Weghorst.
Subs: Lowton, Barnes, Hennessey, Stephens, Lennon, Bardsley, Vydra, Long, Costelloe.
Southampton: Forster, Valery, Lyanco, Bednarek, Walker-Peters, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Perraud, Stuart Armstrong, Elyounoussi, Broja.
Subs: Long, Adam Armstrong, Adams, Redmond, Caballero, Livramento, Salisu, Tella, Diallo.
Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire).
At around 9.30pm last night, things were looking up for 18th-placed Burnley. Leicester City were closing in on victory at 17th-placed Everton, a result which would have given the Clarets the opportunity to spring out of the dropzone this evening with a win over Southampton. Richarlison’s injury-time equaliser at Goodison put paid to that dream, instead increasing the gap between the two relegation-haunted clubs to four points. Burnley really need to respond tonight, with games fast running out. A win and three precious points would wipe out most of that deficit.
Only problem is, they’ve only won four games all season. They’ll also be feel a bit strange at the minute, given tonight will be the first time in nearly ten years that Sean Dyche won’t be growling in the dugout. On the flipside, one of those wins was their previous home game, against Everton, while tonight’s visitors Southampton have won just three out of 15 games on the road this season. So it’s hardly beyond the realms … and what reward awaits! Should Burnley win this, then get something from the visit of Wolves on Sunday, they’d edge above Everton at last, and the Toffees have to go to Anfield later in the day. There’s a routemap to safety, then … but the margins for error are slight. Kick off is at 7.45pm BST. It’s on!