West Brom-Burnley Preview
Sean Dyche's Burnley were favourites for relegation at the start of the Premier League season, but remain out of the bottom three with 15 games remaining.
Despite their unexpectedly strong showing in the first half of the season, Burnley (4-8-11) are now looking over their shoulders after a run of only one win in seven has seen them drop to just one point above the bottom three.
Back-to-back defeats against Crystal Palace and Sunderland came after a busy Christmas period in which Dyche played the same starting 11 throughout, and there have been concerning signs of fatigue creeping into the Clarets' play in recent weeks.
Burnley's inability to pick up anybody in the transfer market undoubtedly frustrated Dyche and his coaching staff, but goalkeeper Tom Heaton is still backing the squad to have enough to stay in the Premier League.
"You've seen over the past 18 months generally that when the going gets tough you back this team to show a bit of character and come through," Heaton said. "We're all ready to battle it out for this final 15 games and we're looking forward to it. We just need to output the maximum performance and that will give us a good chance of picking up the points.
"They're all big games now, there is no getting away from that, but they've been big games all season. We play like every game is a cup final, as you should do, that's been the theme under this manager. There'll be no change really, it's just making sure everything is in place to give everything and that's all you can do to maximise your chance of winning the football match."
Burnley may have failed to sign their targets in the January transfer window, but they did manage to keep hold of star striker Danny Ings, who has a team-high seven goals and will lead the line when West Bromwich Albion (5-7-11) visit Turf Moor.
The Clarets will be without the injured Stephen Ward and Kevin Long for the clash with the Baggies, but may have Matty Taylor back after a calf injury.
Tony Pulis' West Brom have injury concerns over Jonas Olsson and Youssuf Mulumbu, but will be able to call upon midfielder Darren Fletcher after the Scottish international captain ended a 12-year stint at Manchester United to move to the Hawthorns on the final day of the transfer window.
"It's great for the club, he fits perfectly into the ethos of what we want here," said goalkeeper Ben Foster, a former Manchester United teammate of Fletcher's. "We built our foundations on players like that - hard working, good quality, honest, a player you can rely on. Behind the scenes he will be a good lad too.
"I know him well, so I'm happy we signed him because of what he will bring. He captains his country and has about 350 games for United at a time when they were at their most dominant, winning trophies domestically and in Europe. We're happy to have him here and very lucky too."
The Baggies smashed Burnley 4-0 at the Hawthorns in September thanks to goals from Craig Dawson, Graham Dorrans and two from Saido Berahino. However, West Brom top-scorer Berahino is reported to have fallen out with his teammates after telling reporters that he was aiming to move on to "bigger and better things" in the summer.
Reintegrating Berahino into the squad will be a tough test for Pulis, but the new Baggies boss will be keen not to leave out the nine-goal striker from a team who have managed just 20 all season. Only goal-starved Aston Villa (11) have fewer than the Baggies.