An important clash at the bottom of the table takes place at Turf Moor, as Newcastle face Burnley
The first Premier League offering on Sunday is a clash between two sides flirting with the relegation zone, as Newcastle United travel to Turf Moor to take on Burnley.
The Clarets’ return of six points from their last six games has ensured that they head into the game in the stronger position, and likely only need one more win to guarantee another year of Premier League football.
Newcastle’s run of just two wins in their last 20 games has seen them slip worryingly close to a third relegation during the Mike Ashley era, something which is reportedly still close to coming to an end.
There were positive signs last weekend though, when the Magpies turned in a decent performance to draw 2-2 with Spurs, in a game they should have killed off. Joe Willock came off the bench to score the equaliser, and could make a return to the starting XI in Lancashire.
Steve Bruce must decide who replaces Jamaal Lascelles for the trip however, with the Newcastle captain potentially missing the rest of the season with a foot injury suffered in the Spurs game. Federico Fernandez has been back in training since recovering from an injury of his own recently, and is expected to get the nod.
There’s better news from an attacking perspective for the Newcastle manager, with both Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin available. Wilson has missed the last seven games with a hamstring tear, but has trained all week ahead of a return. Saint-Maximin got through 20 minutes against Spurs without issue and should be involved again, likely from the bench.
Ryan Fraser is a doubt with a groin problem picked up while playing for Scotland and could join Isaac Hayden and Fabian Schar on the sidelines.
For Burnley, Sean Dyche will be without Ashley Barnes, Robbie Brady and Erik Pieters. Barnes and Pieters both have thigh issues, while Brady missed the defeat to Southampton with an Achilles problem which has not yet recovered.
Phil Bardsley could return to the squad after compassionate leave, while Kevin Long’s calf problem should allow him to make the bench again.
As mentioned, this game is important at the bottom of the table, with both sides needing a win to make things slightly more comfortable. With Fulham in action on Friday night, the picture will become clearer by kick-off, but Newcastle could either start the day in the drop zone or with the chance to move six points clear of the Cottagers.
Burnley will also have eyes on that game, as a win for Fulham would allow the Clarets to go above Wolves into 14th if they can beat Newcastle.
Burnley take on Newcastle United at Turf Moor on Sunday, April 11th. Kick-off is at 12pm.