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Just three nights ago, things were looking that bit brighter with the 3-2 home win against Everton and with tomorrow’s game against Norwich City at Carrow Road to follow.

The win took us above Watford, within a point of Everton and even left us just six points behind Leeds with two games in hand. Things were looking better for us all of a sudden even though we all know there’s a lot of work to be done.

Then came today; Everton beat Manchester United to restore their four point advantage and Leeds beat Watford, at least ensuring we weren’t in the bottom two again, but moved nine points clear and you have to think that they, like both Newcastle and Brentford are almost at the unreachable point.

So we have to continue, we have to use the confidence gained in beating Everton and go and get another good result at Norwich and put as much pressure on Everton as we possibly can. We’ve still 27 points to play for; I know we are not going to get all of them but we have to ensure we get probably another four wins to give ourselves a fighting chance.

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Jay Rodriguez scored the second goal in the Everton game, drawing us level just before the hour when he converted the pull back from Charlie Taylor. Has it affected the mood he was asked: “It hasn’t. We’re a positive group of lads and I think it was obviously a great feeling to get that win against Everton which we’ll hopefully carry the momentum from.”

Looking forward to tomorrow and to the remainder of the season, he added: “There’s more to come from every single one of us, we need everyone to be at it and I think we’ll definitely see that.”

Jay has started just nine Premier League games this season. Seven of those have come since the draw at Arsenal and he’s featured in all of the thirteen games from then although he’s not started more than two in succession, coming on as a substitute as often as starting. The last time he started successive games were the 1-0 win against Spurs and the 1-1 draw at Palace.

He played the whole ninety minutes against Everton and had possibly his best game of the season; I expect him to start tomorrow from a squad that is unlikely to see any change from the one three days ago with none of the injured players ready to return.

Sean Dyche brought on Matt Lowton for Connor Roberts with eighteen minutes remaining and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Lowton, who last started a league game at Leeds at the start of January, return to the team.

I expect us to line up: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, Nathan Collins, James Tarkowski, Charlie Taylor, Aaron Lennon, Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Maxwel Cornet, Wout Weghorst, Jay Rodriguez. Subs: Wayne Hennessey, Connor Roberts, Kevin Long, Bobby Thomas, Dale Stephens, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil, Ashley Barnes, Matěj Vydra.

Norwich are currently in bottom place in the table, six points behind us and therefore eleven points from safety. Like us, they’ve won just four times this season. The first win came in November at Brentford with Daniel Farke sacked as manager almost immediately after the final whistle.

They beat Southampton at home in their next game and have since recorded successive wins at home against Everton and at Watford in January. Having drawn against Crystal Palace, they then went on a run of six defeats before winning a point at Brighton a week ago.

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Like us, they are fighting for their lives having returned to the Premier League last summer a year after suffering relegation. Also, like us, they’ve relied heavily on one player for goals. Teemu Pukki has scored eight of their eighteen Premier League goals; Josh Sargent is the only other player to have scored more than one with both his goals coming in their win at Watford.

Norwich are without defender Ozan Kabak who has suffered a hamstring injury and has returned to his parent club Schalke 04, but there’s a boost for Dean Smith with all of Lukas Rupp, Max Aarons (pictured above) and Brandon Williams available after missing the game at Brighton.

Their team at Brighton was: Tim Krul, Sam Byram, Grant Hanley, Ben Gibson, Dimitris Giannoulis, Mathias Normann, Billy Gilmour, Pierre Lees-Melou, Kenny McLean, Milot Rashica, Teemu Pukki. Subs: Angus Gunn, Christoph Zimmermann, Kieran Dowell, Christos Tzolis, Jacob Sørensen, Jonathan Tomkinson, Abu Kamara, Tony Springett, Jonathan Rowe.

 

LAST TIME WE WERE THERE

 

We visited Norwich for the final away game of the 2019/20 season with the game played behind closed doors. We were ninth in the table with 51 points while Norwich had already had their relegation confirmed.

Burnley were without a number of first team players and the bench included a number of untried young players, but it proved to be our day, a seventh away win of the season and a run at the end of the season that had seen us win five, draw two and lose just one of our final eight away games.

This one was made that little bit easier when first Emiliano Buendia and then Josip Drmić were sent off by referee Kevin Friend, the first of them after he took a visit to the pitch side monitor before reversing his decision. He had little option with both.

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The second of them came right on half time with the score at 0-0 but the free kick that followed the second red card led to us taking the lead in the stoppage time added for the VAR review. Dwight McNeil’s free kick reached James Tarkowski who played a short ball to Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson whose cross was met by Chris Wood who scored with an overhead kick.

Norwich played with a very cautious 4-4-0 formation in the second half but we did eventually get a second ten minutes from the end when Ben Godfrey, who played a major part in our winner against Everton this week, turned an Erik Pieters cross into his own goal.

A similar result tomorrow would be just what we need.

The teams were;

Norwich: Tim Krul, Max Aarons, Ben Godfrey, Timm Klose (Christoph Zimmermann ht), Jamal Lewis, Alex Tettey (Mario Vrančić 90+3), Kenny McLean, Todd Cantwell (Lukas Rupp 76), Emiliano Buendía, Onel Hernández (Adam Idah 86), Josip Drmić. Subs not used: Michael McGovern, Marco Stiepermann, Akin Famewo, Josh Martin, Teemu Pukki.

Burnley: Nick Pope, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, James Tarkowski, Erik Pieters, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson (Robbie Brady 60), Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Dwight McNeil, Jay Rodriguez, Chris Wood (Matěj Vydra 79). Subs not used: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Jimmy Dunne, Anthony Glennon, Mace Goodridge, Josh Benson, Max Thompson, Joel Mumbongo.

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