Burnley-Hull City Preview
Hull City host Burnley at the KC Stadium on Saturday with the sides both teetering on the precipice of relegation.
The equation for the Clarets is simple: they must win or their stay in the Premier League will come to an end after a single season, and with two games two spare.
Hull's predicament is no less fraught and defeat is equally unthinkable for them.
The Tigers appear to be one of five seeking to avoid joining relegation certainties Queens Park Rangers and Saturday's opponents in dropping though the trap door.
The seventeenth placed Tigers (8-10-17) trail Leicester only on goal difference and are a point behind Newcastle United and Aston Villa but go into Saturday one ahead of Sunderland.
Bottom side Burnley (5-11-19) have lost five of their last six, with their lone point in that time coming in a 0-0 home draw with Tottenham Hotspur.
Their 1-0 defeat at West Ham United last weekend marked the sixth straight game without a goal for the Turf Moor outfit, totaling 569 minutes without a league strike.
Burnley were boosted by the news experienced defender Michael Duff would be available for the match. The red card he received for a foul on Cheikhou Kouyate in the lead up to Mark Noble's winning penalty for the Hammers was rescinded by the Football Association.
The accepted wisdom is that Burnley are all but already down but Duff insists the side will fight to the last to retain top-flight status.
"It's going to be hard and we're under no illusions where we are or what we have to do," Duff told the official club website. "We're fully aware of what we need to do, but whilst there's the chance, there's still positivity."
Duff is looking for his teammates to approach Saturday unshackled by nerves or fear as the Lancashire side have nothing left to lose.
"We've been written off since five minutes after we won promotion last year and the last five percent that maybe thought we had the chance have probably written us off as well now!
"But that's almost a strength that we have now. When you're at your weakest, sometimes you're actually at your strongest."
Burnley have won eight of their last nine meetings with Hull in all competitions, including winning all three Premier League meetings between the sides.
Recent matches between the sides have typically been tight affairs with the last four meetings providing 1-0 scorelines, including November's Turf Moor clash that was settled by an Ashley Barnes strike early in the second half.
The Tigers lost 3-1 to high-flying Arsenal on Monday night and defender Paul McShane expects an equally testing time against a battling Burnley side.
"It is going to be a tough game with both teams fighting for their lives, and it will certainly be tough straight from the off," McShane told the official club website. "They are a good side and they have shown that throughout the season, and we had a difficult game against them at their place earlier in the campaign.
Hull boss Steve Bruce will likely be able to welcome back Curtis Davies (thigh), Mohamed Diame (knee) and David Meyler (head) but Robert Snodgrass (knee) remains out.
Striker Sam Vokes (thigh) is a doubt for Burnley who will have to do without Kevin Long (knee) and Dean Marney (knee).