West Ham United v Burnley preview: Sean Dyche targets sixth place
Last Updated: 10/03/18 7:55am
Burnley boss Sean Dyche is targeting a sixth-place finish in the Premier League ahead of his side's trip to West Ham United on Saturday.
Last weekend's victory over Everton ended Burnley's 12-match winless run and boosted hopes the Clarets can hold on to their seventh position over the closing weeks of the season, or even move up one.
Dyche's men are only five points behind stumbling Arsenal, and victory over the Hammers would put the pressure on ahead of the Gunners' clash with Watford on Sunday.
The Burnley manager will not be allowing himself to think about such matters any time soon, and expects West Ham to come out fighting after back-to-back 4-1 losses against Liverpool and Swansea City.
"They are in a tough spell after David Moyes doing well when he first went in and calming everything down," said Dyche. "He's a very good manager in my opinion and I know Stuart Pearce well. They have a good staff.
"It's not an easy task for us. They're fighting for points, we're now fighting for points for different reasons. We want to go beyond last season, we've put ourselves in a great position to do that."
Meanwhile, David Moyes reckons his team need at least three wins from their final nine games, six of which are at home, to ensure their survival.
"Every game is going to be really important and until we get the points to remain a Premier League team, which I believe we will do, you have got to get them," said the Scot.
"We need good performances and here we have had some good showings, some good games and then some poor ones, so we have to find some balance.
"But between now and the end of the season we need to win at least another three anyway.
"I think 40 points is the safe bet, if you get 40 then you're pretty much there so we've got 10 points to get there."
West Ham centre-half Winston Reid will miss the match after being ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
Full-back Sam Byram is out with an ankle injury, but fellow defenders Angelo Ogbonna (illness) and James Collins (hamstring) should return.
Pedro Obiang and Andy Carroll are still injured, while Arthur Masuaku serves the final match of his six-game spitting ban.
Dyche's main selection dilemma, meanwhile, looks to be whether to start Chris Wood for the first time since December.
The striker returned from a knee injury as a half-time substitute in last weekend's victory over Everton and made a big impact, including scoring the winning goal, and Dyche may be tempted to start with Wood alongside Ashley Barnes up front.
Dyche is set to pick from the same squad as last week, with keeper Tom Heaton (shoulder) and midfielder Scott Arfield (calf) not yet ready for first-team returns.
West Ham have won five of their seven Premier League meetings with Burnley (D1 L1), including winning all three home meetings.
Indeed, Burnley have won just one of their last 16 away top-flight games against the Hammers (D3 L12), with that win coming in October 1973 (1-0).
However, the Clarets have won away at West Ham more recently, with Sam Vokes scoring the winner in a 2-1 win in the Championship in December 2011.
West Ham's last two Premier League games have ended in a 4-1 defeat - they've not lost three in a row by a margin of three or more goals since March 2008.
Burnley ended their 11-game winless run in the Premier League with victory against Everton last time out. They've not won back-to-back since the two games before that run in December.
The Hammers haven't managed back-to-back home wins in the Premier League since December 2016, with one of those victories coming against Burnley.
West Ham have to win. It's another must-win game for them. I'm going with the win because they have to win it, that's all I can say. Surely they'll be playing with a lot more intensity than Burnley. They've been getting beaten badly, and they've got to get it right. Shipping four at Swansea isn't good.
Burnley are good at keeping it tight, opening it up later on when the home team are getting nervous, but I think West Ham will have that intensity to get through.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0 (8/1 with SkyBet)