Mar 22, 2014 at 3pm UK at ​The Valley
CharltonCharlton Athletic
0-3
Burnley
 
FT(HT: 0-1)
Barnes (38'), Vokes (56' pen.), Kightly (90')

Preview: Charlton Athletic vs. Burnley

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between relegation-threatened Charlton and automatic promotion-chasing Burnley at The Valley.

Two teams at opposite ends of the Championship table will be looking for a valuable three points when Charlton Athletic play host to Burnley at The Valley on Saturday.

The Addicks will go into the match on a high having climbed out of the relegation zone with a last-gasp 1-0 victory over Bournemouth on Tuesday - Dorian Dervite getting a potentially priceless goal for the club in second-half stoppage time.

They are still by no means safe from the drop, sitting as they do level on points with 22nd-placed Millwall, but a surprise victory over high flyers Burnley would really get momentum rolling and could kickstart their escape.

They also have the luxury of three games in hand over their direct rivals and, if they can make those matches count, then they should end the campaign comfortably clear of the bottom three.

That is, of course, a big 'if', but new manager Jose Riga has certainly made a promising start to life at The Valley. The Belgian is unbeaten in his three matches at the helm and, while Charlton have only scored once in that time, they are yet to concede in his tenure.

As is so often the case, it is Charlton's home form that has dragged them away from the immediate danger in recent weeks, with just one defeat in their last seven outings in front of their own fans.

Three consecutive clean sheets at home is also an impressive record, although it does risk masking the absence of goals throughout the Charlton side - they have netted just 25 times in their 33 games this season, which is the worst record in English football outside the top flight.

Simon Church is likely to be the man chosen to attempt to improve that record, although Jonathan Obika is expected to play some part having impressed as a sub in midweek.

At the other end of the spectrum, three points for Burnley would all but secure their automatic promotion to the Premier League, something that they will be keen to wrap up as soon as possible.

The Clarets have hit a fine spell of form at exactly the right time in the season, going 14 matches unbeaten in the league to open up a 10-point gap between themselves and the chasing pack.

With both Derby and Queens Park Rangers suffering a dip in form, Burnley have been able to race ahead and it would take a dramatic turnaround in fortunes for them to be dragged into the playoffs now.

However, Sean Dyche was handed a major blow this week with the news that top scorer and newly-crowned Championship Player of the Year Danny Ings has suffered ankle ligament damage, which is expected to keep him out for a number of weeks.

Sam Vokes could be left to fly the flag for that striking duo alone as he looks to help his side extend a seven-match unbeaten streak on the road.

Following Chelsea's defeat to Aston Villa last weekend, Burnley are now the team with the fewest defeats in the entire English Football League pyramid, but all three of their losses have come away from home.

With the exception of Ings, Dyche has no injury concerns and could name an unchanged side to the one that beat Leeds United 2-1 last Saturday.

Recent form

Charlton: WLLDDW

Burnley: DWWWDW

Possible starting lineups

Charlton: Hamer; Wilson, Morrison, Dervite, Wiggins; Green, Jackson, Poyet, Cousins, Harriott; Church

Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Shackell, Duff, Mee; Jones, Marney; Arfield, Barnes, Wallace; Vokes

Sports Mole says: 1-2

Burnley's Danny Ings scores the opening goal during the match against Bolton on August 3, 2013
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