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Sep 26, 2015 at 3pm UK at Turf Moor
Burnley
1-2
Reading
Darikwa (67')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Blackman (5'), Piazon (9')

Preview: Burnley vs. Reading

Sports Mole checks on the progress of Burnley and Reading ahead of Saturday's meeting at Turf Moor.

Burnley will look to extend their unbeaten run to six Championship games when they host Reading at Turf Moor on Saturday.

The Royals are currently just two points behind Burnley in the table as both sides look to build on promising starts to the season.


Burnley

Ben Mee of Burnley celebrates scoring the opening goal with George Boyd during the Sky Bet Championship match between Bristol City and Burnley at Ashton Gate on August 29, 2015© Getty Images

A run of four successive wins was ended on Monday night as Burnley played out a forgettable goalless draw with Burnley, but Sean Dyche will be content with his side's current position.

After the disappointment of relegation from the Premier League, the Clarets have adjusted quickly to life back in the second tier of English football and Dyche's eagerness to stick with the approach which has given them success appears to be key.

Many tipped Burnley to be promotion contenders and the early signs have certainly been promising, but the Clarets boss will be fully aware that it is impossible to read much into the table at this stage of the campaign.

Games against Reading, Rotherham United and Bolton Wanderers over the next few weeks offer Burnley a good opportunity to begin an extended run of results as they look to force their way into the automatic promotion spots as soon as possible.

One defeat in eight league games is proof of how quickly the new faces have gelled with the rest of the squad and as the tests continue to arrive week after week, Dyche will know that consistency is the key.

Recent form: LWWWWD


Reading

Garath McCleary of Reading celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Bristol City and Reading at Ashton Gate on September 19, 2015© Getty Images

When the promotion candidates were being listed in the summer, it is certainly fair to say that Reading were not being favoured by many people, but their performances early in the season have given the Royals fans plenty to be optimistic about.

After seeing a seven-match unbeaten run in all competitions come to an end with a defeat to Derby County last Tuesday, Reading bounced back impressively with early goals from Nick Blackman and Garath McCleary in a 2-0 win over Bristol City.

A return to winning ways looked set to be followed by a surprise victory in midweek as Steve Clarke's side claimed the lead against Everton in the third round of the League Cup, but the Premier League side hit back in the second half to halt their progress.

Although a promotion push may not have been on the minds of every Reading fan, their performances and results since the start of the season indicate that not many will be disappointed to avoid the distraction of a longer run in the cup.

Meetings with Burnley and Middlesbrough in the next week are sure to push the squad to the limits, but if they can continue to attack with the same fluency they have shown this season, a few more followers of the Championship may begin to tip Clarke's men for a promotion push.

Recent form: DDWWLW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWLWL


Team News

Andre Gray of Burnley during the Sky Bet Championship match between Bristol City and Burnley at Ashton Gate on August 29, 2015 in Bristol, England.© Getty Images

Andre Gray is a major doubt for Burnley after picking up a hamstring injury in the stalemate with Derby on Monday night, but the striker will be given time to prove his fitness.

"It is just whether Saturday comes too quickly and he is touch and go at the moment," Dyche told the club's website on Thursday. "He was out on the grass jogging today, so we will make a decision on that tomorrow."

Gray is certain to start if he can shrug off the problem, while Matthew Taylor is pushing for a spot in the starting lineup and could replace Michael Kightly.

Clarke would have been pleased with the displays from some of his fringe players in the defeat to Everton in midweek, but he will make a number of changes to welcome back key men.

McCleary, Jordan Obita and Oliver Norwood are among the players in line for recalls as the Royals look to move ahead of Burnley with a win.

Burnley possible starting lineup:
Heaton, Mee, Keane, Duff, Marikwa, Arfield, Jones, Boyd, Taylor, Gray, Vokes

Reading possible starting lineup:
Al Habsi, Gunter, Hector, McShane, Obita, Williams, Norwood, McCleary, Quinn, Blackman, Vydra


Head To Head

The Clarets collected four points from their two fixtures with Reading in their promotion campaign in 2013-14, with Danny Ings on target in both matches as Dyche's side won 2-1 at home before settling for a 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture.

Reading were on a run of five successive victories over Burnley before those two matches, and they have won on two of their last three trips to Turf Moor.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Burnley 2-1 Reading

After relying on some excellent defensive performances to claim a point from their trip to Derby, Burnley will be expected to get on the front foot in front of their home supporters. Reading are unlikely to stray from their attacking approach, though, which should provide the platform for an exciting game. The Clarets may just be too strong on their home turf, but they will be sweating on the fitness of Gray.



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Garath McCleary of Reading celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Bristol City and Reading at Ashton Gate on September 19, 2015
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