Match Preview: Burnley vs Sunderland

Sunderland travel to Turf Moor on Friday night to take on Vincent Kompany’s high-flying Burnley side in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

The Black Cats have struggled for form of late, particularly since their main talisman Ross Stewart suffered an Achilles tendon injury back in January.

They now sit 11th in the Championship table and a victory on Friday could seriously reignite their play-off hopes.

Alongside Stewart, Sunderland have been hit with more injury concerns – with Aji Alese, Corry Evans and Dennis Cirkin all still absent ahead of Friday’s fixture against the league leaders.

Elliot Embleton also remains side-lined, with the broken ankle he suffered in December.

Prior to the international break, Amad Diallo converted a late penalty to salvage Sunderland a point in a 1-1 draw with Luton Town at the Stadium of Light.

The international break produced yet another injury scare for Tony Mowbray’s side, with Dan Ballard forced off the field for Northern Ireland in their match against Finland.

Burnley remain unbeaten at Turf Moor this campaign, as they edge closer to their immediate return to the top-flight.

Sunderland will provide a stern test though, having accumulated more points on their travels this season- including an impressive 1-0 win over Norwich in their previous away encounter.

The Black Cats average 1.53 points per game away from home this season, in comparison to their lesser 1.26 points per game average at the Stadium of Light.

Nathan Tella will undoubtedly be a major threat for the hosts, having netted a hat-trick in Burnley’s 3-1 victory over Hull City most recently.

Tella is the Clarets’ top goalscorer and was also on target in the reverse fixture at the Stadium of Light in October, where Burnley came from behind to win 4-2.

They have been equally impressive defensively, having kept four clean sheets in their last five home matches.

However, Vincent Kompany’s side will hoping to bounce back from the uncharacteristic 6-0 humbling that they endured against Manchester City in the FA Cup last time around.