Championship preview: Clarets can collect at the KC


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The Independent Football

The KC Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for Burnley in recent years and we're backing the Lanchashire side to plunder maximum points at the far end of the M62 once again. Take some of the 11/4 available on Burnley (draw no bet).

The Clarets have won each of the last six meetings between the two sides by an aggregate scoreline of 15-3, a run that stretches back the 2009/10 season when both teams were playing in the Premier League. 

Now Sean Dyche can follow up on those triumphs under Owen Coyle, Brian Laws and Eddie Howe and make light of disappointing setbacks against Ipswich and Charlton in their last two outings. Those results combined look awful on paper but we're prepared to acknowledge a certain level of mitigation in each instance.

Against Ipswich, the Clarets were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, providing the opposition for Mick McCarthy's first home game in charge, following the embarrassing 5-0 defeat at Crystal Palace. Nonetheless, they did match the intensity of their hosts and it required a predatory late strike from DJ Campbell to separate the two sides. In truth, it was a game that could have gone either way.

Then, against Charlton, the Clarets were fighting a losing battle after they were reduced to ten men on 15 minutes, Kieran Trippier adjudged to have handled deliberately on the goal-line during a penalty box scramble. Lee Grant saved the resulting spot-kick and Burnley held their own for the best part of an hour until Danny Haynes eventually netted the only goal.

Prior to that, Burnley had won four of their previous five matches, so it's clear they have plenty to offer, and we believe Sean Dyche has yet to rubber-stamp his arrival as sucessor to Howe with a stellar performance steeped in his own ideas.

Hull did the business for Best of the Bets followers at Birmingham last weekend, so we don't oppose them lightly, but it's apparent in successive home defeats to Blackpool and Peterborough two months ago that they do leave the door open to be picked off and we shouldn't doubt that Burnley have the firepower to do the damage with 20-goal striker Charlie Austin in their ranks.

Meanwhile, Simon Grayson could be blessed with a full compliment of strikers this weekend and, with that prospect in mind, it's hard to resist the 7/5 available on Huddersfield (draw no bet) against Charlton, particularly in light of our reservations about the circumstances that led to the Londoners winning at Turf Moor last weekend.

That result stretched the Addicks' winning run to three matches but their performances at The Valley have been ropey for the most part and no eulogy about their 5-4 victory over Cardiff should be allowed to go unchallenged without reference to previous home defeats against Watford, Barnsley and Middlesbrough.

Huddersfield haven't lived up to the standards they set early on in the season but that's mostly down to the absence of James Vaughan. Nonetheless, they have still picked up slender wins over Bristol City and Barnsley in recent weeks, which underlines their ability to grind things out when necessary.

Grayson isn't one to sit around waiting for something to happen when deprived of his star players, so he went into the market for Simon Church and will soon find himself in the enviable position of having to choose between Vaughan, Church, Jermaine Beckford, Sean Scannell and Lee Novak.

That's quite an array of attacking talent and we should back Grayson to find the right combination this weekend.

Betting advice...

2pts Burnley to beat Hull (draw no bet) at 11/4 (Coral)
Visitors have tightened up under Sean Dyche and free-spirited Tigers can always be picked off.

2pts Huddersfield to beat Charlton (draw no bet) at 6/4 (Hills)
Addicks' good form is loaded with caveats and Terriers have been performing well on the road.

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