Burnley vs Sunderland preview: Clarets look to avoid upset

Story behind the game

This is a match that both Burnley and Sunderland will not be caring too much for. The Clarets have made a good start to the Premier League season with four points from nine while Sunderland are unbeaten; only goal difference separates them from the top of the League 1 standings. 

Sean Dyche will be focused on another season of Premier League safety and has never really shown the domestic cup competitions much respect.

One saving grace for the Burnley manager is that his squad now has considerable depth and this match will allow him to illustrate that.

Sunderland manager Jack Ross will also have a focus on the league campaign. Burnley are where Sunderland want to be and feel they should be. A club of their stature should not be in the position that they are in.

Ross knows that he will be expected to deliver promotion to the Championship so he could do without the distractions of run in the Carabao Cup. Nonetheless, the chance of a Premier League scalp will entice both him and his players. 

Team News

Steven Defour remains a long-term absentee while Robbie Brady will also be out. Johann Berg Gudmundsson is also out after picking up an injury against Wolverhampton Wanderers but it is not thought to be a serious problem, according to Lancs Live. 

There are no other injury concerns for the Clarets.

Sunderland will be missing Duncan Watmore, Marc McNulty and Ethan Robson, according to The Chronicle. 

Predicted Line-Up

Dyche will be expected to make wholesale changes for this one. Injuries to Brady and Gudmundsson mean that Dwight McNeil could retain his place on the left.

Danny Drinkwater should make his debut for the club.

Hart; Bardsley, Long, Gibson, Taylor; Lennon, Drinkwater, Hendrick, McNeil; Vydra, Rodriguez. 

Sunderland will want to keep their unbeaten run going. A heavy loss to Burnley could damage morale but a victory could inspire them as they seek to gain promotion.

The likes of Grant Leadbitter and Aiden McGeady will boast Premier League experience and know-how. 

Burge; O'Nien, Ozturk, Willis, Hume; Power, Leadbitter; Gooch, Maguire, McGeady; Wyke.

Key Clashes

Matej Vydra vs Jordan Willis

Vydra has been given very few opportunities at Burnley but it's expected that he will be fielded in this match. He'll be looking to get in on the act and prove a point to his manager.

Willis, a summer signing from Coventry City, will be expecting a challenge against the Czech international and Jay Rodriguez

Phil Bardsley vs Aiden McGeady

McGeady can be superb on his day. He has a whole box of tricks to test Phil Bardsley. Bardsley was excellent for the Clarets, last season, but has started this season as the back-up to Matt Lowton

Danny Drinkwater vs Grant Leadbitter

Leadbitter is a wise head and a combative midfielder. His tussle with Drinkwater should be interesting. The on-loan Chelsea man will be looking to dictate play in the midfield as he pushes to boost his fitness. 

What they have said

Sean Dyche (Burnley manager): “It’s not just a chance (to play). I’ve said I think it’s the most balanced and competitive group I’ve had here. 

“It’s not a guarantee. You could argue about other groups because I feel I’ve had some good ones here.

“But when I look at the rounded side of the squad - and the fact we have minimal injuries as well at the moment - I think they are players that are capable."

Max Power (Sunderland player): "Competition for places is healthy. All the lads are striving to do well and if we can all keep pushing each other then we will have a successful season.

"Everyone is pulling in the right direction. We've won our last four and there's an excitement leading up to games. We're all ready for Burnley and can't wait to go again.

"Burnley will give us a good test. They are a Premier League club but we're in a good way at the minute. We want to progress and we want to keep winning games. It's a great tie for us."