Burnley v Leicester – Key battles in the second v first clash

Burnley FC - Turf Moor

Leicester travel to Turf Moor in the Championship's early kick off tomorrow to take on second place Burnley.

While it would be naive to call this one a title decider, considering the eight matches left to play, it will none the less be a very important and gripping game. 

Not only is this second versus first, it's best home record against best away record. It's also most clean sheets against most goals scored. All signs point to a draw, but there will be some key battles to help decide the outcome. 

Burnley are still without Danny Ings and Kieran Trippier is unlikely to feature – good news for Jeffrey Schlupp. On the other hand Lloyd Dyer returned in the second half against Yeovil on Tuesday, meaning he could be in a position to trouble the Burnley right-back. 

Another key man missing for Burnley will be Dean Marney after picking up his tenth yellow card of the season. This leaves Sean Dyche looking for someone to sit along side David Jones in midfield who'll have to be at his best against the likes of Nugent, Vardy and co. Chris Baird is a likely candidate, but after covering at right-back against Doncaster another player would be needed to fill in there. 

Liam Moore didn't start against Yeovil but will have to keep an eye on Ashley Barnes if he does, who has taken his opportunity in Ings' absence netting against Charlton and impressing again against Doncaster. Sam Vokes is always a threat and an experienced centre-back like Wes Morgan will think he can do enough to stop him scoring his 21st of the season. 

Jason Shackell has just as difficult a task in the Burnley defence, to keep out a free-scoring team with goals capable of coming from anywhere. 

A win by a margin of two goals is what's needed to leapfrog Leicester. Sean Dyche's mantra is the cliche of taking each game as it comes, and Burnley will feel confident in their scoring abilities knowing the league leaders haven't kept a clean sheet in four.

It is a cliche that tight fixtures such as these are won and lost in the midfield, but the absence of Dean Marney could well play a part here. The central midfield pairing of Danny Drinkwater and Matthew James are well versed in controlling games, both with a pass completion rate this season of over 80%. David Jones is more than capable of holding his own but there's no doubt it'll be more difficult without Marney beside him. 

Two consecutive draw's have allowed Burnley to catch up with Leicester, and though the title won't be won or lost tomorrow, we may just get an idea of where it will end up come May 3rd. 

What do you think will be the decisive factor in this result?

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