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The under-23s have four games remaining this season with the first of those four this afternoon when we come up against Sunderland at the Academy of Light.

We go into the game in third place in Division 2 of Premier League 2 with coach Steve Stone spelling out that he wants us to finish in the top five and win a play-off position. Other than runaway leaders Leeds and lowly Fulham we’ve played more games than any other teams in the league but, as it stands, only Wolves and Reading could go above us if they were to win their games in hand while both Aston Villa and Sunderland could draw level.

After suffering successive defeats against Stoke and Crystal Palace during February, we’ve recovered well and won four of the last five games, the only defeat in that run coming against a very experienced West Brom team and our most recent game at Fulham provided us with our biggest win of the season as we hit four for the first time in a 4-1 win.

Sunderland are currently 11th in the thirteen team table but have played just seventeen games with them knowing they will move up a couple of places with a win. They go into this afternoon’s game on an unbeaten run of three games which started with draws against Newcastle and Wolves before they beat Crystal Palace 2-1 a week ago with two late goals from former Burnley player Will Harris.

Our home game against Sunderland in September provided us with our first ever Premier League 2 points. We’d lost 3-2 at Wolves in our first game before kicking off our home programme at Leyland with a win by the same score against today’s opponents.

A Morgan Feeney own goal gave us an early lead which was quickly doubled when Ashley Barnes scored as he got game time on his way back from a long term injury. Mitch Curry quickly pulled one back for Sunderland and it remained 2-1 at half time. The scoring was completed within the first ten minutes of the second half when Barnes got his second and then Jack Diamond scored for Sunderland, both those goals coming from the penalty spot.

The Burnley team was: Lukas Jensen, Marcel Elva-Fountaine, Jake Rooney, Trialist (Connor Barrett 27), Matty Rain, Ne-Jai Tucker, Ben Woods, Will Rickard, Lewis Richardson, Max Thompson (Cricky Conn-Clarke 61), Ashley Barnes (Rob Harker 60). Subs no used: Marc Richter, Ismaila Diallo.

Kick off today at the Academy of Light is 1 p.m.

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