MX23RW : Friday, September 21 12:20:44

Preview: Burnley vs. Ipswich Town

Sports Mole looks ahead to Saturday's Championship clash between promoted Burnley and playoff-chasing Ipswich at Turf Moor.

While Turf Moor will be the scene of a promotion party for Burnley on Saturday, visitors Ipswich Town arrive in Lancashire with everything still to fight for.

The Tractor Boys have suffered a dip in form at the worst possible time, with a defeat to Watford and a fortuitous draw with Bournemouth over the Easter period.

However, no-one seems to want to make the final playoff position their own and, as such, Ipswich are still very much in the mix with just two points separating them from sixth-placed Reading.

However, victory over the league's second-best team is a must if they are to keep their increasingly slim hopes alive. Anything other than three points could see their playoff prospects ended this weekend, depending on results elsewhere.

Ultimately, matters are already out of their own hands, with Reading, Brighton & Hove Albion and Nottingham Forest all better placed in terms of points or goal difference.

However, should results go their way this weekend then they could find themselves in the driving seat going into the final game of the season, which sees them host Sheffield Wednesday.

Their away form has been respectable in recent weeks, with three victories and three clean sheets in their last five outings, but they will need arguably their biggest away performance of the season if they are to triumph at Turf Moor.

The visitors could be handed a fitness boost in the shape of Christophe Berra, but Luke Hyam will not recover in time while David McGoldrick remains a long-term absentee.

Ipswich's plight could well be helped by Burnley's promotion, with the Clarets unable to finish any higher or lower than second and likely to have one eye already on the Premier League next season.

A 2-0 victory over Wigan Athletic on Easter Monday secured their passage back into the top flight, a remarkable feat from Sean Dyche considering the relatively small squad and budget at his disposal.

Success in the Premier League with such a small squad is a much tougher ask, however, and Dyche will already have his sights set on potential targets that may help his side compete in the big time next season.

Consequently, some of the Burnley players who have helped gain promotion could be playing for their future in the final two matches of the season, a surefire way to motivate them not to tail off.

Fans at Turf Moor will want to cap their campaign off with a win in the final home match, and it is a ground that has been kind to the Clarets this season.

Their first home league defeat of the season came at the end of last month and, although that was swiftly followed by another, it has been something of a fortress for Burnley, a factor that they will be keen to continue in the top flight.

However, they will be without Sam Vokes for Saturday's match, while Dyche could opt to make a number of changes in order to have a look at players who could be on the verge of leaving the club.

Recent form

Burnley: LDWLWW

Ipswich: DLWWLD

Possible starting lineups

Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Shackell, Duff, Mee; Jones, Arfield; Kightly, Ings, Marney; Barnes

Ipswich: Gerken; Chambers, Berra, Smith, Cresswell; Wordsworth, Skuse, Green, Anderson; Williams; Murphy

Sports Mole says: 2-2

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Ipswich's Luke Chambers in action against Derby on October 23, 2012
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
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24Ipswich TownIpswich8044612-64

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